A six-year-old boy has become the fourth child to die after falling through ice into a lake in Solihull.
He had been in hospital since Sunday, when he was pulled from the lake along with three other boys, aged 11, 10 and eight, who died in hospital.
West Midlands police said in a statement on Wednesday evening: “It is with heartfelt sadness that we have to report this afternoon the six-year-old in hospital has lost his fight for life.
“Our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends of those involved in this tragedy. We cannot comprehend the enormity of the pain they must feel and our hearts go out to them.”
It is believed the children were playing on the icy lake on Sunday, with an eyewitness reporting that one boy’s legs fell through and all four fell into the water when they attempted to help him.
The four boys were in cardiac arrest when they were pulled from the lake, after police and members of the public jumped into the water in a desperate attempt to pull them to safety.
One police officer was treated in hospital for mild hypothermia after punching through the ice to try to reach them.
Rich Cooke, chair of West Midlands police federation, told the Daily Telegraph the officer was a student officer in his early 20s, who had been on one of his first operational rotations.
Police had been searching the lake since Sunday, after initial reports suggested up to six people may have fallen in, but no other children have been reported missing, and police confirmed on Wednesday their search was over.
“The searches have been completed and the scene of the incident at the lake will be lifted this evening,” West Midlands police said.
Saqib Bhatti, MP for the constituency of Meriden, where the lake is situated, said: “I’m saddened to learn the fourth child who was pulled out of the ice earlier this week did not survive. My heart goes out to the families in this difficult time. They are all in my thoughts and prayers.”
A large collection of flowers, candles and toys has formed near the lake, where people have been paying tribute to the youngsters this week.
The England international and Aston Villa footballer Tyrone Mings was one of those visiting the memorial on Wednesday. “It was a personal decision to pay our respects. I think it’s impacted the whole city,” he said. “We felt it was important to come down on a personal level just to show that support.”
On Tuesday a number of police officers gathered for a moment of silence and to lay flowers at the scene, where they received a round of applause from local people.
A number of cards were written by children who knew the victims. One read: “I will come here to visit all the time. I will never forget about you,” it read. “I would do anything to spend one last day with you.”
Another said: “To my friend, thanks for being there for me when I was sad. Thanks for lending me your jacket when I was cold.”
West Midlands police said specialist officers were remaining in contact with the family and that they would issue further information soon.