A MAN has been hailed as a hero after jumping into a freezing lake to help save two boys who fell through the ice in freezing temperatures.
Curtis Botten, 23, was one of half a dozen rescuers who dashed to help the stricken boys in the middle of the blizzard, after being alerted by a walker who heard their screams, preventing a certain tragedy.
The boys, aged 11 and 12, had been walking over a small iced over lake on a patch of Green Belt land at the rear of Wraysbury Drive, West Drayton.
Kerri Slayven, 22, partner of Curtis, who lives in Wraysbury Drive, were among the first on the scene last Saturday (Dec 18), when the snowfall was at its heaviest at 10.45am.
She said: "A neighbour was walking and he heard screaming, at first he thought it was a dog and its owner by the lake.
"When he saw what was happening, he ran to our doors and our neighbours to ask if any of us had rope.
"Rope is not the sort of thing you just have lying around though, my partner ran out with an aerial extension cable which is around five metres long, and another neighbour ran down with a ladder.
"We tied the cable round a tree, and were able to pull one of kids out.
"As we were about to help the second, the piece of ice he was clinging onto cracked, pushing him further adrift."
The amazing stroke of luck is that Curtis is a trained lifeguard, but he was not long out of hospital himself having torn tendons in his shoulder, and at the time believed he had a broken collarbone. Realising the urgency of the situation, he threw caution to the wind, and jumped into the lake.
"He dived in, it was very dramatic, both were underwater for quite sometime, but it worked and he saved the boy. He showed no regard for his own safety, but he is not the sort of person to stand by and let somebody die like that.
"I will never forget the screaming of the two boys it was a horrible sound."
After the miraculous rescue, neighbours who had been watching on, provided blankets, and got Curtis and the two boys into the warm.
Miss Slayven said: "It was snowing really badly at this point, all the emergency services had been called but it took them 40 minutes to arrive because of the weather."
When the ambulance did arrive, the two boys were taken to hospital with severe hypothermia, having been in the lake for several minutes, while Curtis was also treated for mild hypothermia, having been in the icy water. All have now made a full recovery.
The two boys were named only as Curtis, 11, and Jack, 12, who was the second to be rescued.
"We have not seen the boys properly since, it was a really stupid thing to do to walk on an iced over lake. We suspect their parents are not letting them out the house."