11-Year-Old Hero Dies After Rescuing Friend Who Fell Into Frozen Pond

Rescuers were able to find Perez and get him to dry land but he had stopped breathing. The boy was rushed to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.



An 11-year-old boy proved you are never too young to be a hero.

Anthony Perez saved his 12-year-old friend Juan Umpierrez, who had fallen into a frozen pond — and in the process, gave up his own life.

The tragic incident happened when the two children were playing in Forest Park in Queens, New York and Umpierrez walked out into the frozen pond. The fragile ice broke and the 12-year-old boy fell through. When Perez, who was on land, saw his friend scrambling on the ice, he ran onto the pond. Perez was able to push Umpierrez out safely but he fell into the water and was unable to get out.

The Fire Department of New York said Perez made it 50 feet into the pond before the ice gave away under him. Two firefighters arrived to the scene quickly to rescue the boy but had to break the ice with their hands wade through the icy, chest-high water.

“Members 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,” Deputy Chief George Healy said in a statement.

Rescuers were able to find the boy and get him to dry land but Perez had stopped breathing. He was rushed to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Umpierrez was uninjured after the incident but the two firefighters were treated for hypothermia.

Perez’ neighbors were saddened by the tragic accident but said they were not surprised the young boy acted quickly to save his friend.

“I’m gonna call him a hero,” Perez’s neighbor Carmen Rivera told NBC New York. “He’s a hero.”

“He’s a good kid, he’s a really great kid . . . it’s a shame something bad had to happen,” said Leonardo Coraci, another neighbor. “It used to be a baseball field before it was a pond, and they actually had to change it into a stinking pond. They should have kept it as a baseball field. It stinks. He’ll be in my prayers and it’s a shame. He’s a good kid – a really good kid.”

The police is now urging parents to warned their children against walking on frozen water bodies.

“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,” Healy said. “Again, the ice looks to be safe, it looks to be thick, but the temperature today was well above freezing.”

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