Solihull: Fourth boy dies in frozen lake tragedy

Boy, 6, has died after falling into icy Babbs Mill Lake in England

Twenty-one officers from West Midlands Police on Tuesday lay bouquets of flowers near the scene in Babbs Mill Park in Kingshurst, Solihull, after the boys' deaths. PA
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

A fourth child has died after falling into an icy lake in Solihull, England.

The boy, 6, had been fighting for his life in hospital since the incident at Babbs Mill Lake, Solihull, near Birmingham, on Sunday.

Three other boys, aged eight, 10, and 11 also died, police said on Monday.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends of those involved in this tragedy," said West Midlands Police.

“We cannot comprehend the enormity of the pain they must feel and our hearts go out to them.

“Specialist officers remain in contact with the family and we will issue further information as soon as we can.

“The searches have been completed and the scene of the incident at the lake will be lifted this evening.”

Twenty-one officers from West Midlands Police lay bouquets and stand in silence on Tuesday near the scene in Babbs Mill Park in Kingshurst, Solihull, after the boys' deaths. PA

The death comes as England international Tyrone Mings visited a makeshift memorial at the lake.

Mings and fellow Aston Villa player and captain John McGinn arrived on Wednesday to look at the carpet of floral tributes to the boys.

“It was a personal decision to pay our respects," said Mings, who plays at centre-back for the Birmingham club and has earned 17 caps for England.

“I think it’s impacted the whole city. We felt it was important to come down on a personal level just to show that support.

“Sometimes, as we’ve seen with other things that have happened across the city, there are things more important than football.

“We felt it was important to come down here, show our respects and show we were thinking about everything that has happened and the parents who are affected by it.

“We feel that pain too.”

Aston Villa's John McGinn and Tyrone Mings on Wednesday visit near the scene in Babbs Mill Park in Kingshurst, Solihull, after the deaths of the boys. PA

Mings and McGinn spent a few moments in silence looking at the hundreds of tributes, cards, bouquets, children’s toys and balloons that have been laid at the foot of a tree next to Babbs Mill Park since the tragedy unfolded on Sunday.

Both players have been at the club’s mid-season training camp in Dubai before returning to the UK before Thursday night’s home friendly against Spanish side Villarreal.

The tragedy has united the city’s rival football clubs, Aston Villa and Birmingham City, whose head coach John Eustace on Tuesday laid a wreath at the memorial on behalf of the Blues.

“We were in Dubai when we heard the news and I thought of my nieces and nephews, and the players thought about their kids," McGinn said.

“It was certainly moving for us.

“We saw John Eustace come down yesterday and myself and Tyrone thought it would be good for us to pay our respects.

“I’m sure tomorrow night in the friendly against Villareal, the Villa family will come together and pay our respects to what is a tragic event so close to home.

“Nothing can sum up what the families will be thinking, what the community will be thinking.

“But it just shows what a close-knit community it is.”

Police on the lake at Babbs Mill Park in Kingshurst on Tuesday. PA

Mings said: “It’s a really sad situation for everybody. We wanted to pay our respects.

“It’s touched everybody and made everybody really come together. We try and pay our respects as a football club, but this was kind of on a personal level.

“We were also thinking of everybody involved and it seemed a small gesture for us to come down and pay our respects.

“We felt it was important to do so.”

Later on Wednesday, staff from the nearby John Henry Newman Catholic College and Kingshurst Primary School spent a few minutes looking at the flowers and reading messages on cards, including heartfelt tributes to the “Babbs Mill Boys”.

Three boys die after falling into frozen UK lake - video

This week relatives paid tribute to one of the youngsters, Jack Johnson, 10, who is reported to have been trying to save others after they fell into the water.

In a social media post, the family thanked members of the community for their support.

Several other tributes had cards dedicated to Jack while others paid tribute to another boy by name: “To Thomas, the world will not be same without you” and “Thomas, rest in peace. Love from Earl”.

Among the dozens of teddy bears was one with the message: “RIP beautiful angels.”

More details have emerged about the rescuers, who comprised members of the public and police officers, including a new officer who suffered mild hypothermia after trying to punch through the ice to get the boys out as quickly as possible.

Rich Cooke, chairman of West Midlands Police Federation, told The Telegraph that the man was a student officer in his early 20s, who had been on one of his first operational rotations.

Mr Cooke described him as “an absolute hero” who was on days off but would be back on shift this week.

He said all the police who arrived at the scene had “tried to help in whatever way they could”.

Updated: December 15, 2022, 6:43 AM