Police fear there could be more victims after four children were rushed to hospital in “critical condition” after being rescued from a frozen lake in Solihull.
When firefighters arrived, a “number of police officers and members of the public were in the water, trying to rescue the children,” West Fire Service Area Commander Richard Stanton.
The children were “in cardiac arrest” and were rushed to hospital “on advanced life support”.
However, when pressed at a press conference on why police were still looking, West Fire Service Area Commander Richard Stanton said there were reports of six people going into the water.
He said: “When the fire service arrived on scene, we were made aware that there were up to six people potentially within the water. After rescuing the for children, we have continued search and rescue operations within the whole of the lake in order to confirm whether there are anymore [people] within the water.”
Superintendent Richard Harris of West Midlands Police added: “At this moment in time, we are conducting searches in the lake, I can’t confirm that we are looking for anybody else at this stage, but we will continue to conduct our searches throughout the course of the night.”
He added that specialist equipment was in route to the scene to help assist in the search.
Commander Stanton added that due to freezing temperatures and the amount of time a potential victim would have spent in the water, the operation would move from search and rescue to recovery.
One police officer was treated for hypothermia at hospital as a “precaution” but would make a full recovery, according to Superintendent Harris.
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There were earlier reports that the children had been “playing” on the ice before falling into the frozen lake, officials would not give an update on the conditions of the rescued children.
Two of the rescued children were taken to Heartlands Hospital and two to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
West Fire Service Area Commander Richard Stanton told a press conference: “Reports from the scene and videos on social media indicated that a number of children had been playing on the ice, on a lake and had fallen through the ice.
“Our specialist water rescue teams arrived, worked out where on the lake the children were and acted assertively to take control of the scene. When our firefighters arrived, a number of police officers and members of the public were in the water, trying to reach and rescue the children.
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“Our crews entered the water, swam to the first child and our specialist trained firefighters, including technical rescue, rescued three further children. The children were brought out of the water where they received immediate life support care from firefighters and our ambulance service colleagues.”
Police did not say if the children’s parents had been informed of the incident and urged people not to “speculate” and not to share any footage on social media.
Superintendent Richard Harris urged anyone with information on the incident to get in touch on 101 quoting log number 2264 of 11/12.
Officials also warned of the dangers posed by the severe weather conditions and urged people, adults and children, not to approach open water and not to go out on ice, no matter how safe it may seem.