An 11-year-old boy died while trying to save his friend, who had fallen through the ice on a frozen pond in Queens, officials said.
Anthony Perez made it about 50 feet before the ice began breaking underneath him on Strack Pond in Forest Park on Tuesday, New York City Fire Department Deputy Chief George Healy said in a statement.
Emergency responders had to break the ice with their bare hands to get to the area of the pond where Perez was trapped, the FDNY said.
Perez was unresponsive when he was brought to land. He was rushed to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Two firefighters were also hospitalized to be treated for hypothermia.
“Again, the ice looks to be safe, it looks to be thick, but the temperature today was well above freezing,” Healy said. “We implore parents — make sure your kids know the ice in the city of New York, on these lakes and ponds, is not safe.”
Perez was reportedly trying to help a friend and was able to push the other boy to safety before he was submerged.
“He was a very good boy,” neighbor Donnamarie Colandro Parlatore wrote on Facebook about Perez.
The boy would often go to Parlatore’s home to play with her grandchildren, who are struggling with the news of his passing, she wrote.
“We all are,” she wrote.
She later shared a photo of Perez, writing: “My little angel. Anthony you will never be forgotten. I love you little man.”