Policeman who left ‘bleeding’ after punching through ice was a student

The policeman who punched through a frozen lake in an effort to save three children who died after falling into it is a “hero” student officer – and he will be returning to work in just a few days’ time. It was one of the first rotations for the early 20s response officer, who had joined the force in spring, when Jack Johnson, 10, and two other boys aged eight and 11, fell into the lake at Babbs Mill nature reserve in Solihull, West Midlands.

Despite the young response officer risking his life to save them, the three boys died after the ice cracked. A fourth boy, six, is still in critical condition, while tributes to the boys, including bouquets, balloons, and sweets, have been laid near the lake.

Yesterday reports revealed that a 13-year-old girl had also attempted to rescue the children.

The heroic officer, whose efforts to punch through the ice and save the boys left him with a bleeding hand and hypothermia, is currently on his scheduled days off.

However, he intends to return to work as normal next week after recovering from the event.

The young man’s co-workers have described him as a “hero” who “put his own life at risk.”

Rich Cooke, chair of the West Midlands Police Federation, told The Telegraph: “I just spoke to him today. He’s doing ok. He’s a young officer like a lot of the officers that would have attended initially.

“They do what they can. They tried to help in whatever way they could. They got the kids out as quickly as they could and I’ve been trying to remind them all they did the best they could and that’s all anyone can do.”

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Mr Cooke added that the new officer had already “been through a lot since he joined”, due to the “higher concentration of traumatic incidents on lots of personnel” in “uniform policing nowadays.”

He said the federation was supporting the officers, and said they had done all they could to save the young boys.

Mr Cooke added: “He is absolutely a hero and put his own life at risk, not just him but all the officers who tried to help. They did get the boys out and gave them the best possible chance of survival.”

Witness Sandra Colley, 52, added to the outlet that she sat with him in the police car, where he was “shaking” following the incident.

She said: “He was very quiet. All he said was that children had fallen through the ice and were trapped beneath.”

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Ms Colley added that he “looked like he was in shock and traumatised.”

Yesterday a group of 21 officers from West Midlands Police’s Chelmsley Wood neighborhood policing team marched to the makeshift shrine near the lake to lay flowers. The officers were tearful as they placed the bouquet and held a two-minute silence for the boys.

Onlookers clapped as the officers left, while Solihull Police also tweeted its “heartfelt thanks” to the community for its “overwhelming” support offered to all branches of the emergency services who attended the rescue and since.

Following the event various police and fire services have issued warnings about children playing on frozen lakes, while the Royal Society of Life Saving encouraged making education around swimming more accessible for children across the country.



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