An 11-year-old boy has died after he jumped into a frozen pond in Queens, New York, to try to save his friend’s life after he fell through the ice. People are now hailing Anthony Perez as a hero.
Perez died in an attempt to save Juan Umpierrez, 12, when they were both playing in a park near the pond.
“He [Perez] was on land, he only went out to the ice after the other kid fell through,” a law enforcement source told The New York Post. “He [Perez] was able to push him [Umpierrez] out to safety, but he fell through ice and he couldn’t get out.”
Umpierrez was able to climb out of the water. Perez didn’t make it and was trapped in the icy water for about 30 minutes before first responders pulled him out.
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,” FDNY Deputy Chief George Healy said in a statement. “They had to go underneath to get the child.”
According to the The Washington Post, Umpierrez was not injured in the incident, but two first responders were treated for hypothermia.
Perez’s neighbor Carmen Rivera said, “I’m going to call him a hero: He’s a hero.”
In his statement, Healy concluded, “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.”