Two children broke through the ice on a pond in Forest Park in Queens, Feb. 6, 2018.
Firefighters clawed through ice and plunged into frigid water to rescue a boy who fell into a frozen pond in Queens Tuesday but Anthony Perez, 11, later died at Jamaica hospital, the NYPD said.
According to authorities and published reports, 11-year-old Anthony Perez and a 12-year-old friend were walking through Forest Park when the older boy ventured 50 feet out onto the frozen Strack Pond. When he fell through the ice, Perez was able to pull him out before falling into the frigid waters himself.
Firefighters responded to Forest Park at about 4 p.m. Perez had walked about 50 feet onto the frozen pond before the ice broke, the FDNY said. He had gone out to save a friend who had himself fallen through the ice, the New York Post reported.
Deputy Chief George Healy said firefighters used their hands to break through the ice and then waded into the chest-deep water to pull out Perez, who was unconscious and not breathing.
"We implore parents—make sure your kids know the ice in the city of New York, on these lakes and ponds, is not safe," Healy said. "It won't support your weight. Please stay off the ice."
In a Facebook post, the FDNY shared photos from the scene and a warning about the ice: "FDNY urges all New Yorkers to please, stay off of the ice. There is no such thing as safe ice."
The Fire Department of New York says the boy walked out about 50 feet onto the frozen pond before the ice gave way.
Residents across Queens have come together to raise thousands of dollars for the family of a Glendale child who reportedly died earlier this week while trying to save his friend at Strack Pond in Forest Park.
Anthony Perez, 11, fell into the ice-covered Strack Pond in Forest Park on Feb. 6. Anthony reportedly attempted to rescue his friend – who ventured too far out onto the thin ice and broke through – when he himself became trapped beneath the ice. Anthony’s friend was able to escape and run to get help; firefighters pulled Perez from the water, but he died a short time later.
News of the tragedy spread quickly, and so did the neighborhood’s support. On Feb. 7, the president of the PTA at P.S./I.S. 113Q where Anthony went to school, Jennifer Bonowitz, launched a GoFundMe campaign after meeting with the PTA to decide how they could help Anthony’s family pay for his funeral. In less than 24 hours, the campaign has collected $11,424.
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Bonowitz said she saw the news coverage the night of the incident, but didn’t know it was a child from their school until the next morning.
“I was just heartbroken,” Bonowitz said. “He was a good little boy and always had a smile on his face and was very polite.”
The PTA at P.S./I.S. 113Q spends a lot of time in the school, Bonowitz said, and provides “the mother factor in the building.” Looking at the rest of the children now, it’s hard to imagine losing one, she said.
While she has not been in direct contact with Anthony’s family, Bonowitz said that some of the family’s neighbors told them how the PTA wanted to help, and Anthony’s father extended his gratitude. Bonowitz added that the PTA and the school’s administration is thinking about ways to leave a legacy behind for Anthony by planting a tree or having a plaque made.
Anthony’s death comes less than two weeks after 13-year-old Ridgewood native Kevin Flores was struck and killed by a truck while riding his bicycle in Brooklyn, and the community raised $15,886 to support his family.
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