Metro

2 boys pulled from Brockton pond after falling through ice

From left: Carlos Baez, 9, Alberto Baez, 10, and Yandell Benit, 11, were playing in Brockton Saturday when their two friends became submerged underwater.

Astead W. Herndon /Globe Staff

From left: Carlos Baez, 9, Alberto Baez, 10, and Yandell Benit, 11, were playing in Brockton Saturday when their two friends became submerged underwater.

BROCKTON — Two young boys fell through thin ice on a pond behind a middle school on Crescent Street and were rescued after their three friends ran to the street to flag down motorists for help.

The two boys, ages 9 and 12, were rushed to Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital for evaluation. The older boy was later transported to a Boston hospital, where he was in critical condition Saturday night, police said.

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The two boys were not identified by police.

Although conscious, the younger boy was “visibly upset” as he stood wrapped in a blanket before being taken to the hospital, Sergeant Michael Damiano said.

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The boys might have been acting on a dare when they walked onto the icy pond behind Plouffe Academy, Damiano said.

“My understanding was that it was one of those ‘if you do it I’ll do it’ things,” he said.

More than a dozen Brockton police and firefighters responded to the scene after a 911 call was placed by a motorist flagged down by the boys’ friends, authorities said.

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Steve Hooke, director of the Brockton Emergency Management Agency, said children must always be cautious when approaching outdoor ice.

“Especially this winter, where it’s been so warm and cold and warm and cold,” Hooke said at the scene. “

Children should remember to never go out alone, he said.

On Saturday, the five boys, ages 9 to 12, set out in the afternoon to play football nearby. But instead, they frolicked near the unnamed pond, which is surrounded by a fence.

The two boys tiptoed onto the ice, then quickly fell in, according to their friends.

“At first it was fine,” said Alberto Baez, 10, seated on a couch at his home, hours after the incident.

Baez said he warned his friends that the ice might not be safe. But the 9-year-old didn’t listen, he said.

‘I was waving . . . until a car turned around.’

Benit Baez, who alerted a bystander about his friends 
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“He just kept going out more, and then it just broke,” Baez said.

Baez sat with his brother, Carlos, 9, and their cousin, Yandell Benit, 11, as they described the terrifying incident for relatives, some of whom burst into tears as they listened.

The two boys clung to each other and waved their arms frantically as they started to slip into the water.

Although scared, Baez and Benit were determined to help save their friends. They ran to the street, where they waved at motorists.

“I was crying and I told two men at the school that my friends were drowning, but they didn’t believe me,” said Benit, who is 11. “So then I stopped a car. I was waving my hands, and I was in the street until a car turned around.”

Baez ran two blocks to tell a relative. Carlos stayed behind with his friends, who were struggling to stay afloat.

“I said, ‘Try to stay alive,’” Baez said.

Dinah Hernandez and Elizabeth Ortiz, who are sisters, said they are proud of their sons. Although relieved their boys are safe, they feel for the parents of the boys who fell into the ice.

“It’s scary because I can’t imagine what those parents are going through,” Ortiz said.

Astead W. Herndon can be reached at astead.herndon@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @AsteadWH. Reenat Sinay can be reached at reenat.sinay@globe.com.
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