‘He’s a hero’: 11-year-old boy dies after trying to save a friend trapped in an icy pond


Officials said that the children went out about 50 feet on the ice before it crumbled beneath them. (New York City Fire Department)

The boy had tried to save his friend from an icy pond.

The 11-year-old, who was identified by local news media as Anthony Perez, had been playing Tuesday afternoon with his 12-year-old friend on a frozen pond in Queens, N.Y., law enforcement officials told the New York Daily News.

The older boy fell through, authorities said, and Anthony tried to help him. His friend made it out, but Anthony could not escape from the water, police said.

After being trapped in the water for about a half-hour, Anthony was pulled out by first responders and transported to a hospital where he died, authorities told the New York Daily News.

“There are signs around all the lakes in the city and we implore you, tell your children — the ice is not safe, it’s not going to support your weight, and it can have tragic consequences,” FDNY Deputy Chief George Healy said in a statement after the incident.

Officials said that the children went out about 50 feet on the ice covering the Strack Pond in Forest Park, Queens, before it crumbled beneath them.

Firefighters responded shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday to the scene. Dramatic video shows them lift a person from the pond and then pull him to shore.

Firefighters “had to physically, with their hands, break through the ice and chop the ice so they could get to the area that they knew the child would most likely be in,” Healy said in the statement. “They had to go underneath to get the child.”

Healy said first responders rushed him to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition. But within hours, he died.

The 12-year-old was not injured, but officials said two first responders were being treated for hypothermia. “Again, the ice looks to be safe, it looks to be thick, but the temperature today was well above freezing,” Healy said Tuesday.

After the incident, neighbors remembered Anthony as the young boy with the “big smile.”

“It stinks. He’ll be in my prayers. It’s a shame,” Leonardo Coraci, a neighbor, told the New York Daily News. “He always had his big smile. It’s a shame that something bad has to happen to this kid.”

Carmen River, who lives next door to the family, said the boy was friendly and always wanting to help. “That’s Anthony,” he told the newspaper. “He’s a hero.”

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