Four children are in critical condition in hospital after being pulled from an icy lake in cardiac arrest, while a search operation continues amid fears two more children were involved in the incident.
Emergency services were called to Babbs Mill Park in Kingshurst, a nature park in Solihull, at 2.36pm on Sunday, with reports from the scene and social media indicating that children had been playing on the ice and had fallen through into the lake.
Local fire, police and ambulance chiefs told a press conference on Sunday evening that four children were rescued from the water in cardiac arrest and taken to hospital in a critical condition.
Emergency services were made aware that up to six people may have been in the water, with specialist rescue teams continuing to search the lake overnight.
It comes after a weekend of snow and freezing frost with the severe conditions set to continue over the next few days, including temperatures as low as minus 10C.
Richard Stanton, West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service area commander, told the press conference: “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.
“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 colleagues.”
He later added that they were “made aware there were up to six people in the water” when firefighters arrived.
“So after rescuing the four children, we have continued the search and rescue operation to confirm whether there were any more in the water,” he said.
He added: “The specialist medical advice we have been given on the scene, given the temperature of the water, given the age of those who entered the water and the amount of time they have been in there, this would no longer be a search and rescue operation.”
Cameron McVittie, a tactical commander with West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “On being rescued, the four children were taken under blue lights to hospital with an advanced care team.
“Two were taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and two to Heartlands in Birmingham. All four children were in critical condition on arrival.”
He added: “There are no updates. They were all in critical condition when they arrived in hospital.”
“Unfortunately, the children in the water were in cardiac arrest and were receiving advanced life support en route to hospital,” he added.
The press conference heard that one of the police officers suffered mild hypothermia and is making a “full recovery” in hospital.