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Shocking footage shows pupils risking their lives on frozen canal just day after lake tragedy

Shocking footage shows a group of school pupils dicing with death on a frozen canal near Brownhills.

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The youngsters were seen on the Wyrley and Essington Canal in Brownhills. Photo: Derek Sadler

Just days after three boys died after falling into an ice-covered lake in Solihull, a video has been released on social media of a group risking their lives by walking on a frozen area of the Wyrley and Essington Canal.

The footage shows a boy and a girl in school uniforms walking on a section of the frozen canal, then jumping over to the side.

Another video shows a girl desperately climbing out of the canal after plunging into the water when the thin ice shattered underneath her, with the girl struggling to get out despite the efforts of two boys.

The footage was taken and posted on Facebook by Derek Sadler, who lives alongside the canal, and said he had been working on his home when he heard a noise and struggled to believe what he was seeing.

He said: "I heard shouting and noise on the path and looked out and couldn't believe what I was seeing, with one of the kids smashing the sides of the ice with a stick and three of them in the middle of it.

"I went out and said to them that they shouldn't be going that as they might go through the ice, but kids being kids, they just weren't taking any notice.

"I was just shocked to see it after what happened in Solihull this week."

The footage on Facebook has been shared more than 2,000 times and prompted some very angry comments from people, with some criticising the youngsters to risking their lives.

The youngsters were seen on the Wyrley and Essington Canal in Brownhills. Photo: Derek Sadler

Other people commenting posted criticism of Mr Sadler for filming and not helping, but Mr Sadler said it happened on the other side of the canal to where his home was, making it difficult to offer help safely.

He also said that he had posted the videos and images to Facebook to raise awareness of the dangers of walking on ice over water.

He said: "I just wanted it to show how dangerous it is for kids to do that.

"Don't get me wrong, we've all done things like this in the past, but they just don't seem to realise the impact this can have on friends and family by doing something as stupid as that.

"It blew my mind to see the girl go through the ice and up to her knees and it was very lucky that she managed to get to the sides, so the whole thing is absolutely crazy."

West Midlands Fire Service Area Commander Richard Stanton said it was disappointing to see the footage, given the events of the weekend, and spoke about the need to be aware on frozen areas of water

He said: “Frozen lakes, ponds, canals and reservoirs can look picturesque, but they can be lethal. There can be no greater warning of this than Sunday’s awful events.

“We would ask parents and carers to remind their children of the dangers of ice, and why they must keep off it. Please help us to avoid this happening again.”

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "Walking onto frozen water, no matter how sturdy or thick it looks to stand on, is potentially extremely dangerous.

"If you fall into icy water, the risk of hypothermia is very high and sadly potentially fatal.

"We strongly urge the public to heed our warnings.

"If you’re a parent, guardian or teacher, please talk to children about the dangers of going onto frozen water during the Winter.”

Shire Oak Academy Headteacher Annabel Stoddart said: "At Shire Oak Academy, the safety of students is our number one priority.

"When we were informed about a small number of our students taking risks on the frozen canals near the school, we acted swiftly to ensure that a clear message around water and ice safety was shared with all students this morning.

"We have also spoken directly with all students involved and their parents and carers to not only check that they are safe, but also to reiterate the important safety messages and to ensure they know what they did was a danger to them and could well have put others at risk.

"We will continue to ensure that student safety and wellbeing is an important part of our curriculum and that we educate students to look after themselves and others in their community."

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