Queens Boy Dies after Falling Into Icy Pond

NY Times - February 07, 2018

by NY Times

An 11-year-old Queens boy playing with a friend on an icy pond near his home died after he fell through the thin sheet of ice and into the frigid water on Tuesday afternoon, the authorities said.

The boy, Anthony Perez, had walked about 50 feet onto Strack Pond inside Forest Park when the ice suddenly gave way around 4 p.m. The boy plunged into the water, and his friend ran to get help. The Fire Department arrived within four minutes of a 911 call, and three firefighters began a frantic effort to rescue the submerged boy, the authorities said.

The firefighters jumped into the pond in their regular uniforms and broke up chunks of ice with their hands wading through chilly, chest-high water toward the hole where the boy fell. They pulled Anthony out of the water, holding him as firefighters on the shore reeled them back to safety with a rope.

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But Anthony, who was underwater for at least several minutes, was not breathing, the authorities said. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

George Healy, a deputy chief with the New York Fire Department, said the pond’s conditions were dangerous even for the firefighters who rescued the boy. Two of them were being treated at a hospital on Tuesday evening for hypothermia, he said at a news conference at the park.

“The ice is not safe,” Deputy Chief Healy said, “and it can have tragic consequences.”

He said the boys should have never been playing on the pond, especially on a day when the temperature was above freezing. There are red signs around Strack Pond, which is in the Woodhaven section of Queens, warning people of thin ice.

“There are a lot of lakes around the City of New York, and especially for children, they may be enticing this time of the year,” he said. “Again, we implore you — tell your children and make sure they are aware.”