THE devastated families of four boys who died after falling through a frozen lake have today paid tribute.
Finlay Butler, eight, his brother Samuel, six, and their 11-year-old cousin Thomas Stewart were killed in the tragedy in Solihull, West Midlands.
7Brothers Finlay and Samuel Butler have been named by police7Their cousin Thomas Stewart was also killed in the tragedy7Jack Johnson died heroically trying to rescue the boysJack Johnson, 10, died after heroically attempting to save the others as the horror unfolded on Sunday.
West Midlands Police have now released pictures of the boys along with moving statements from their loved ones.
Finlay and Samuel’s parents said: “As a family we are devastated at the loss of our beautiful boys Tom, Fin and Sam in such tragic circumstances.
“We would like to thank the emergency services for all they did in rescuing the boys and to the community for their support, it has been overwhelming.
“We would like to pass on our condolences to Jack’s family at this very sad time, and ask for privacy from the media to begin to grieve.”
Thomas’ older brother paid tribute to the youngster and his cousin.
He said: “Thomas was such a lively little soul, he had a big heart for such a young kid and he was so beautiful.
“He loved being outside playing with his mates. I love you Tom, big bro will take care of the family and I will see you soon. Make sure you keep practising on warzone and get a win, will you?
“Can’t forget about my dinosaur man Fin, he loved dinosaurs so much and always showing me new things he built on Minecraft and all the new stuff he learnt on it. Gonna miss you little man.”
It comes after it emerged the dad of one of the four boys had jumped in the sub-zero water to save them.
A GoFundMe launched to help the heartbroken families confirmed the two youngest victims were brothers.
It read: “Our hearts are broken for the four Little Princes.
“On Sunday, 11th December 2022, a group of children played in a local park near an open lake. Being children and adventurous, they forgot the dangers taught by their parents and risked going onto the icy lake.
“Four boys fell through the ice and into the lake. The frantic father of one of the lads and a dog walker entered the lake to try and help the boys.
“The emergency and rescue services arrived promptly and began the rescue.
“This tragedy is heartbreaking, has brought a community together, and has affected people’s hearts worldwide. Condolences go out to all three families and their relatives.”
Jack, Finlay and Thomas were declared dead shortly after the tragedy after suffering cardiac arrest.
Little Samuel sadly lost his battle for life in hospital yesterday.
Jack’s family and friends previously told how the youngster had bravely rushed to the aid of other children after hearing their screams.
The boy’s aunt Charlotte McIlmurray said he thought only of saving the kids – who he did not know – and had no concern for his own safety.
She posted on Facebook: “The 10-year-old boy is my nephew. He saw one go through the ice and he ran and tried to save them.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with the other family. We are just broken over it.
“To find out he died trying to save three lads… That just sums him up. He was amazing.”
Emergency crews were scrambled to the icy lake on Sunday afternoon where temperatures plummeted to -3C overnight.
Distraught locals had yelled it wasn’t “safe” to go on the lake, which had frozen over in the cold weather.
Police officers and members of the public plunged waist-deep into the freezing water to rescue the kids after they went into cardiac arrest.
One policeman who attempted to punch through the ice suffered mild hypothermia but has been released from hospital.
Locals told how they heard screams coming from the lake as the tragedy unfolded.
Dan Hall, 38, told The Telegraph: “She was a relative. She’d come down to help and met up with a younger girl who was hysterical, saying: ‘My brother, my brother’.
“The teenage girl was trying to comfort her younger cousin and saying it was going to be alright, but she had only just arrived and the younger girl had seen what had happened.
“You looked at what was happening and knew deep down that they were struggling to make it. It was just harrowing.
“Some people were very brave, and the emergency services were amazing.”
Another said: “I’m feeling numb. It’s just too close to home and absolutely heartbreaking.
“I heard the sound of children screaming and I knew it was bad. That sound will go with me to my grave.
“There was pure panic and fear. I just heard such a commotion and then the most emergency services I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Dale Hewitt – a friend of the victims’ family – said the boys’ grandfather had also desperately rushed to the water to try to save his grandson.
He said: “It’s just heartbreaking for the family and this will have a massive impact on the whole community.
“I also know the grandfather. I heard that he ran down from where he lives and jumped in the lake to try to save them.
“What’s happened is so sad. I’ve got two kids aged six and 11 months and it has really affected me.
“I saw a video taken from one of the tower blocks, where you can hear these screams of ‘Help’ coming from the lake. It was unbearable.”
A poignant vigil was held on Monday night for the “little kings who lost their lives”.
Footballers John McGinn and Tyrone Mings yesterday added bouquets to the mountain of floral tributes and teddy bears.
7A relative said brave Jack had rushed over to help the other boysCredit: Facebook7A police officer wipes a tear away following the tragedyCredit: Paul Edwards7Tyrone Mings and Villa teammate John McGinn left flowersCredit: SWNS7A mountain of flowers, balloons and teddies have been left for the youngstersCredit: Paul Edwards
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk