Searches of a frozen lake where three boys died have continued into a third day as a six-year-old boy remains in hospital fighting for his life in a critical condition.
The tragic schoolboys perished in Babbs Mill Lake, in Kinghurst, Solihull, after plunging through the ice on Sunday afternoon (December 11).
A ten-year-old boy, named locally as Jack Johnson, reportedly ran onto the lake to try and save three others who had fallen in. He was pulled from the freezing waters alongside two other boys - aged eight and 11 - and rushed to hospital where they sadly died.
A six-year-old boy was also rescued by hero emergency workers and members of the public who waded into the lake - with one cop ‘punching through the ice’.
He was also taken to hospital where police said he remains today (Tue) in a critical condition still battling for his life. West Midlands Police said searches of the lake had also continued this morning (Tuesday, December 13) following reports of two other children falling in.
However, there have been no other reports of missing people but the force said it wanted to be ‘100 per cent certain nobody else was in the water’.
West Midlands Police tweeted this morning: "Our searches at Babbs Mill Lake in Kingshurst will continue today. "The six-year-old boy remains in hospital in a critical condition. We will release further updates as soon as we are able."
Speaking at a press conference at the scene yesterday (Mon), Solihull Superintendent Rich Harris said: "We will be here for as long as it takes to make sure there is no one left.
"The other boy is incredibly poorly and we will keep you updated on his condition as it becomes clear to ourselves. This time of year, in the run up to Christmas, adds to the tragedy but, as you can imagine, the families are absolutely devastated."
St Anthony’s Primary School, where Jack attended, has reopened today and is offering support to grieving pupils. The school wrote on social media last night: "We will reopen tomorrow for pupils. Never has our motto being more meaningful, ‘actions speak louder than words’. We will support our children and families the best we can."
Last night, a candlelit vigil was held near the scene of the tragedy which was attended by more than a hundred members of the devastated Solihull community.
Dozens of floral tributes, balloons and candles were laid at the base of a tree in Babbs Mill Park to remember the boys. One tribute read: "To my friend Thomas. Thanks for being there for me when I was sad. Thanks for lending me your jacket when I was cold. You were like a brother to me. I miss you so much."
Earlier in the day, witnesses described how they had seen people running towards the lake and children’s screams or ‘pure panic and fear’.
One local resident described coming across one ‘hysterical’ teenage girl, believed to be one victim’s sister, sobbing: "My brother, my brother!"
Resident Dan Hall, 38, who rushed to the scene to help, said: "I ran down to where it was and there was a girl on a bike about 13 with a younger girl, I presume her sister.
"I asked her ‘what’s going on?’ and she said there were some kids on the lake and said ‘my brother my brother’. She was hysterical. The older one was saying to her ‘Don’t think like that’. I saw a police officer walking up and he was drenched.
"You just feel helpless. I got down there and saw a few more people and it was hysterical. I saw a guy down there and it was possibly his son and he had a police officer consoling him. He was screaming.
"Then they pulled the first one out. I took my jacket off and gave them my coat and stuff. They’d already been under there 10-15 minutes or so.
"I gave my coat and I ran back up to my home to get more stuff. I saw the second kid get pulled out and there’s no words to describe it. I was seeing a child who was clearly dead.
"I grabbed a few more jackets and towels and ran back and just handed them over. By this time they’d had the third one out. Eventually they started wheeling them up and they were still pumping the kids on the stretchers.
"The girl who I saw initially on the bike I spotted her crying and I asked if she was alright, she said no. Her brother was probably one of them."
One local resident, who did not want to be named, added: "I’m feeling numb. It’s just too close to home and absolutely heartbreaking. "I heard the sound of children screaming and I knew it was bad. That sound will go with me to my grave. There was pure panic and fear. I just heard such a commotion and then the most emergency services I’ve ever seen in my life."