Tourists Taking Selfie Capture Dramatic Central Park Ice Rescue

Dramatic video captured by a woman and her daughter shows the moments before and after a group of seven young people plunged through the ice on a pond in Central Park Monday. Erica Byfield reports.

(Published Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017)

What to Know

  • Seven kids and teens plunged through an icy pond in Central Park Monday night

  • Two men who were skateboarding helped rescue them

  • Some of the kids and teens were being treated for hypothermia-related injuries Tuesday morning

Dramatic video captured by a woman and her daughter shows the moments before and after a group of seven young people plunged through the ice on a pond in Central Park Monday.

Lourdes Cuevas and her daughter Maia Ramirez, tourists from Paraguay who say they had never seen so much ice, were taking a selfie as the group of kids, ranging in age from about 10 into the teens, climbed onto the ice-covered water on an unseasonably warm February holiday. Their photo shows the kids huddled on the ice behind them.

Dramatic video captured by a woman and her daughter shows the moments before and after a group of seven young people plunged through the ice on a pond in Central Park Monday.

(Published Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017)

"At the beginning, they were throwing rocks, testing the ice, and then decided to step on it," said Cuevas.

"They just go, 'Come guys, let's take a selfie. The ice is solid,'" said Ramirez. "But the moment that they step on the spot, the ice starts breaking down, and they fell in the water."

Footage exclusively obtained by NBC 4 New York shows the group floundering about, some struggling madly to grip the crumbling edges of ice, others screaming, as they tried desperately to escape.

Cuevas said one of the kids completely disappeared under water.

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Two skateboarders who happened to be nearby raced to their rescue, and by the time firefighters arrived at the park by 59th Street and Central Park South, the kids had been pulled out of the water, witnesses and officials said. Some of the children and teens were recovering from hypothermia-related injuries at Bellevue and two other area hospitals on Tuesday morning, officials said.

The good Samaritans, Bennett Jonas and Ethan Turnbull, told reporters they saw the kids dancing on top of the ice, then suddenly plunging into the water.

"I look over, I saw six heads just trying to get to the shore," said Jonas. "The back one was probably a good 20 yards from dry land."

Jonas dived in as Turnbull stood by to grab them.

Two skateboarders raced to the rescue when a group of children fell through an icy pond in Central Park on Monday. Some of the children were being treated at Bellevue Hospital Tuesday morning. Tracie Strahan reports.

(Published Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017)

"The last two at the end, the kid at the end was unconscious," said Turnbull. "[Jonas] got him out, he was kind of out of breath, and [Jonas] threw him to me. I just kind of minded him until he came to."

Jonas, of San Clemente, California, who now lives in midtown, and Turnbull, of Sydney, Australia, say they happened to be in the right place at the right time.

"I was in the park for a reason tonight," he said. "I could have been anywhere right now, but I was 100 yards away, from kids who were drowning."