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12th Dec 2022

BBC News presenter in tears reporting news of Solihull lake deaths

Steve Hopkins

‘I am so sorry…this is terrible news’

A BBC presenter became visible upset on Monday when she reported the deaths of three young boys who died after falling into a frozen lake in Solihull on Sunday.

Four children were thought to have been playing on the ice in Babbs Mill Park in Kinghurst when it broke around 2.30pm.

Three boys, aged eight, 10 and 11 were taken to hospital and placed on life support, but authorities have since confirmed they have all died. A fourth boy, aged six, remains in a critical condition, and on Monday was described as being “very poorly”.

It was initially thought that six children were playing when the accident happened, but police said on Monday that they don’t believe anyone else in the lake. Regardless, Richard Harris, of West Midlands Police, said officers will continue searching until they can be absolutely certain, he said, saying officers will remain at the scene “for as long as it takes”.

News anchor Joanna Gosling announced the news on the BBC News channel on Monday and had to stop and steady herself. She apologised to viewers.

“I have some really sad news to bring you, we are hearing three boys – aged 10, 11 and eight – have died after being pulled from an icy lake in Solihull,” the 51-year-old said.

“I am so sorry…” Gosling continued, clearly upset.

“This is terrible news, obviously. Three boys have died and there were reports six people were on the ice, and emergency services are looking at the lake having got those reports.”

Trying to compose herself, the journalist concluded: “Very sadly, we have heard three of those boys have died” before saying the news was “very shocking” and “very sad”.

Temperatures across the country plummeted over the weekend with lows of just 1C being reported in Solihull at the time of the incident, which fell to -3C overnight.

A fire service spokesman said the tragedy highlighted the dangers of frozen water. “It can look picturesque but can be lethal,” he said. “Please help avoid this from happening again.”

At a press conference on Monday, Harris, told of the heroic efforts of emergency workers who “went into the lake itself to help rescue the children and to try and assist them as quickly as we possibly could” with one suffering mild-hypothermia after trying to “punch through the ice” to save them.

He said the officer and other emergency workers went in the icy waters without any specialist clothing or equipment, and “without any regard for their safety”.

Harris refused to confirm any further details about the boys at the request of their families who are “absolutely devastated”.

“It is incredibly sad that we don’t not have any better news for you today regarding yesterday’s incident. We are deeply saddened by the death of three boys,” he told journalists.

Richard Stanton, West Midlands Fire and Rescue Area Commander, said the deaths were a “tragedy beyond words”.

He described the incident as a “stark reminder to us all” of the dangers of open water.

Stanton added: “Frozen lakes, ponds, canals and reservoirs can look picturesque but can be lethal.

“We would ask parents and carers to remind their children of the dangers of ice. Please help us to avoid this happening again.”

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