A group of teenagers ages 13 to 16 fell through the ice of a frozen pond in New York City’s Central Park on the evening of Monday, February 20. They are still alive today because of the actions of two men in their early 20s who happened to be riding by on skateboards.
According to Gothamist and posts on Instagram, models Ethan Turnball, 24, and Bennett Jonas, 23, were skateboarding through Central Park and noticed the teenagers struggling in the frozen pond.
Jonas tells the full story on a post made to his Instagram.
@ethanturnbull and I tonight went out to Skateboard around Central Park. Passing a frozen lake we saw a group of 6 kids go though the ice. We ran over and immediately we're put in the toughest situation I think We will have to go through. 6 kids screaming for help being pulled down by each other, soaking backpacks and huge jackets. I had to make a decision to get in the middle of that or watch them drown. When I got about waist deep two of the kids jumped on top of me and pulled me under. I had to pick them both up and throw them to Ethan. I then grabbed a ladder and pulled the next 2 in. Behind them were two lifeless bodies that I knew I couldn't get too. I swam out and grabbed the last two guys and was able to get them to shore and keep them alive. I feel humbled and grateful that God called me to be there tonight, I'm still shaking and am completely shook by what I experienced, but I'm alive and so are 6 other kids who got very lucky tonight.
NBC NY also obtained footage of the teenagers playing on the ice before and struggling after it broke. According to Gothamist, another set of good samaritans in Maia Ramirez and her mother found a nearby ladder and handed it to Turnball and Jonas to assist in reaching all the victims.
— Tracie Strahan (@tstrahan4NY) February 21, 2017
Ramirez also told WABC 7 that the teenagers were playing on the ice and taking selfies, eventually jumping up and down on it, causing the ice to break.
FDNY divers scoured the pond for about an hour afterwards, to make sure no one was left under the ice. Jumping up and down on frozen ice is never a smart idea. And as the FDNY pointed out to Gothamist:
“There is no such thing as safe ice. Kids and adults should never walk on frozen water, regardless of the temperature outside. Ponds and lakes in our city parks may seem frozen, but they are never solid enough for anyone to safely walk on.”
Friends, models, and now NYC heroes, Bennett Jonas (L) and Ethan Turnbull (R) jumped into a frozen Central Park pond to rescue a group of teens who fell through the ice while taking a selfie, as seen in today's NY Post. #nycphotographer #mcdermottphotos #nyc #rescue #centralpark @ethanturnbull @bennett_jonas #nypost #nypostnyc