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Family member identifies 'hero' boy who fell through ice on Lake Erie
KITCHENER -- A family member of the nine-year-old boy who fell through the ice on Lake Erie over the weekend has identified the child as Alexander Ottley.
Haldimand County OPP say they were called to the area of Peacock Point on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. following reports of two children who had fallen into the lake.
The boy and his eight-year-old friend were on the ice edge when a wave swept them into the lake, according to officials.
According to the GoFundMe page, Ottley was attempting to save his friend who had fallen into the ice when he fell in.
"It's an honour to know this brave boy," wrote Rebecca Brunke, founder of the GoFundMe page. "We are now raising money to help support the family with funeral costs, therapy for his sister who witnessed this tragedy, and anything else they need in this difficult time."
Police say the eight-year-old boy was rescued after Ottley 's 10-year-old sister ran up to the roadway, flagged a vehicle for help, and two people from the vehicle went out onto the ice to grab him.
OPP launched a search effort for the nine-year-old boy who did not resurface. This included a helicopter, assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as an underwater search and rescue unit.
The search efforts then turned into a recovery mission later that night and picked up again Sunday morning.
“This has been very traumatic to the neighbourhood,” said resident Don Pearson. “I’ve been here 20 to 22 years and I’ve never seen anything quite like this.”
Provincial Constable Rod LeClair says ice buildup is causing delays for the dive teams on scene to enter the water, but that the shoreline search is ongoing.
“Forces of Mother Nature on Lake Erie are nothing to mess with,” said resident Rand Desnoyers. “We unfortunately had a westerly wind last night that shoveled all the ice into the shore.”
LeClair says they want to get the recovery done as soon as possible to give the family some closure.
“It could happen on the creeks and the waters and unfortunately it hit us here,” said resident Val Patrick. “It’s just heartbreaking.”
Many residents in the area have opened up their homes to first responders and brought them coffee as the search continued.
Police called off the recovery effort Sunday evening and will resume on Monday morning.
#HaldimandOPP reporting search and recovery efforts suspended for the day and will resume Monday morning Feb 17th. Updates will continue to be provided as information becomes available.^rl pic.twitter.com/FA9zTXdmr0— OPP West Region (@OPP_WR) February 16, 2020