6 boys pulnge into icy river- 4 dead
Six boys pulled from Massachusetts river; four dead
December 15, 2002
LAWRENCE, Mass. - Six boys plunged through the soft, thin ice of the Merrimack River on Saturday, and four who were trapped below for several minutes later died.
Two of the boys were merely ``cold and wet'' after rescuers quickly retrieved them, Deputy Chief Joseph Marquis said.
The other four had been trapped under the ice for at least 10 minutes, and were unconscious when they were pulled from the river Saturday afternoon, said Lawrence Police Chief John J. Romero.
The boys, between 7 and 11 years old, walked out on the one- to two-inch thick ice about 25 feet from shore. A seventh boy who had stayed on shore ran to a nearby house to call for help after they fell through.
Arriving police formed a human chain and were able to pull out the two children closest to shore even after falling through the ice themselves, Romero said. It was then that they learned four more children were still trapped.
William Rodriguez, 11, Victor Baez, 9, Mackendy Constant, 8, and Christopher Casado, 7, were declared dead at hospitals.
Temperatures were in the mid-40s on Saturday, but many rivers were still frozen after a recent cold spell.
A man who had called emergency personnel, Jacques Fournier, tried to rescue the boys himself while he waited for help.
``I looked and saw three kids in the water,'' Fournier told the Boston Herald. ``I ran back, had my wife call 9-1-1, I grabbed a rope out of the basement and ran back.''
``When I came back with the rope there were only two,'' he said.
Fournier said he tried repeatedly to toss the children the rope but they couldn't reach it.
``They looked very calm and were saying, 'Sir, hurry up.' I was angry at the rope because I couldn't reach them.''