Anthony Perez, an 11-year-old boy died after falling through the ice at a freezing pond in Queens Tuesday afternoon.
Anthony Perez was playing near a frozen pond with 12-year-old Juan Umpierrez when Juan fell through frozen ice, the New York Post reported.
The incident occurred on Feb. 6 after school hours. Police said Anthony was able to get his friend out of the icy waters, but fell in himself while doing so.
“[Anthony] was on land, he only went out to the ice after the other kid fell through,” a law enforcement official told the New York Post. “He was able to push him [Juan] out to safety, but he fell through ice and he couldn’t get out.”
“He did help get him out, but he couldn’t save himself,” the law enforcement official added.
FDNY Deputy Chief George Healy said by the time they arrived to rescue Anthony, it was already too late.
Firefighters administered CPR after retrieving Anthony’s body from the pond. The child was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Two firefighters were also hospitalized for hypothermia.
“The ice failed underneath them,” Healy explained. “They were in chest-deep water. They had to physically break [the ice] with their hands.”
Several neighbors spoke highly of Anthony, and commended the boy for his bravery.
“I’m going to call him a hero: He’s a hero,” said Carmen Rivera. “He’s friendly with a lot of people, not shy — he loves to help. He’s a nice little kid.”
“He’s a good kid, he’s a really great kid … it’s a shame something bad had to happen,” added Leonardo Coraci, 41. “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.”
Donnamarie Colandro Parlatore, another neighbor, took to Facebook to pay respects to Anthony.
“R.I.P. My little angel. Anthony you will never be forgotten,” Parlatore wrote. “I love you little man.”
The FDNY has since issued a statement encouraging parents to warn their children about the dangers of playing on top of frozen bodies of water.
“We implore you: Tell your children, the ice is not safe,” Healy said during a press conference. “It’s not gonna support your weight. And there can be tragic consequences.”