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Teenager taking photos on frozen pond drowns after ice gives way in Japan

The city of Hanno's location in Saitama Prefecture (Mainichi)

SAITAMA -- A high school student in the city of Hanno in the east Japan prefecture of Saitama died on Jan. 12 after drowning in a frozen pond where the ice split, local police reported.

    A student from Jiyunomori Gakuen Senior High School who had been playing at the pond called the 119 emergency number at 3 p.m. on Jan. 12 and said, "The ice (from the frozen pond) split and my friend drowned."

    According to the Saitama Prefectural Police's Hanno Police Station, a 15-year-old first-year high school student from the prefectural city of Chichibu fell into the water and was pulled out of the pond by rescue workers around 90 minutes later, but was confirmed dead at the hospital where he was sent.

    Hanno Police Station reported that 10 of the school's students entered the golf course that neighbors the school, and between five or six of them went onto the frozen pond to take pictures. When they did, the ice broke, and they all fell into the water. Excluding the student who died, the rest were reportedly able to emerge out of the water, and there were no injuries.

    The pond measures around 22 meters long by 20 meters wide, and the water has a depth of between 2 and 3 meters. At the time of the incident, the water temperature was 2 degrees Celsius, while the atmospheric temperature was 3 C. The ice was around 4.5 centimeters thick at the most.

    (Japanese original by Yuki Nakagawa, Saitama Bureau)

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