A man has died after he plunged into an icy lake as his young nephew watched on in horror.
The tragic 32-year-old fell through ice around 100m from the bank of a fishing lake near Southend, Essex, at 1.30pm on Sunday.
His terrified nephew witnessed his uncle falling into the freezing water before he was left fighting for his life in sub-zero temperatures.
Firefighters using inflatables, rescue lines and a dinghy battled through the broken ice and hauled the man out of the water at around 2.03pm.
He was rushed to Southend General Hospital where he later died and the circumstances surrounding the tragic death have now been passed to the Essex Coroner.
Assistant Divisional Officer Martyn Hodder today warned people not to walk on lakes as the Big Freeze continues.
He said: ”Firefighters and paramedics worked hard to save this man’s life.
”Everything that could be done was done but the water this man fell into was freezing and despite everyone’s best efforts he could not be saved.
”Incidents like this show how important it is not to walk on the ice ever.
”There is no way to tell whether or not the ice will hold your weight and by the time you find out it wont it is already too late.
”Just minutes in icy water can be enough to kill.
”The witnesses to this did the right thing by calling on crews and waiting on the bank, no one should go onto the ice even to rescue someone else.
”Had they tried to help him there could have been more people that needed to be rescued.
”Our warning to people is do not go onto icy ponds or lakes under any circumstances, just by stepping out onto the ice you are taking your life into your hands and it is simply not worth the risk.”
The man, who has not been named, fell through ice at Doggetts Lake in Rochford, near Southend, Essex.
Two crews from Southend, one from Rochford and a water rescue team from Leigh were sent to the popular fishing lake.
The man was rescued 30 minutes after crashing into the water and treated by fire crews and paramedics at the scene.
A spokeswoman for Essex Police said officers were alerted at around 1.35pm.
She added: ”A 32-year-old man was pulled from the lake and taken to Southend General Hospital where he later died.
”The death is not being treated as suspicious and the file will be prepared for the coroner.
”We reiterate warnings given by the fire service people should not be walking on ice.”