BRONX (WABC) --The FDNY rescued a young boy who wandered onto the frozen Bronx River Thursday, and on Friday, his grandmother spoke out.
The dramatic scene played out near the intersection of Bronx River Avenue and Westchester Avenue in the Soundview section around 4:30 p.m., and the entire rescue was caught on NewsCopter7 live only on Eyewitness News First at Four.
Eleven-year-old Lahquan Brooks was out there all by himself, standing alone on ice so thin that his friend had fallen through moments earlier.
"Well he just told me that he went out there because they thought that the ice, they could go ice skating or something, him and his friend," grandmother Annette Ingram said. "He knew better than to go down there."
Firefighters first tried to toss him a safety ring, but they couldn't get it close enough. And as he moved towards it, responders ordered him to stop.
"I was so proud of them. I was so happy. I was wondering if the fireman was OK because he jumped in immediately. They did their job so well," Ingram said.
"I spoke to the young man and told him to stay where he was," FDNY Captain Tom Yuneman said.
Then, firefighter Chris Harkenish, wearing a cold-weather wetsuit, tried to walk to him. But the ice broke, and Harkenish went into the water.
"The child began to step forward, then we told him please don't," Harkenish said. "We were worried that if he moved at all, the ice was so thin that he would have been sucked in and sucked down the river."
Harkenish could feel the current and was fighting it himself, but he was able to guide a ladder handed to him by firefighters on shore to Brooks. Finally, they instructed him to get on the ladder and crawl across, unsure if it would also end up falling into the water.
But Brooks crawled to safe and firm ground like he'd done it a hundred times, helped by Harkenish.
There was a second child, a boy who also lives in Brooks' building, who earlier fell into the water but managed to get herself out before firefighters arrived.
Both children were evaluated at the scene before being taken to Jacobi Hospital for observation. Harkenish and another firefighter were also treated.
"They were exposed to the frigid waters, and they had hypothermia," firefighter Kevin Montgomery said.
Brooks is a sixth-grader at IS 131, where he was supposed to participating in an after-school program. Instead, he was playing in a park area with benches and a pavilion called Concrete Park.
"We all thought that he was in school," Ingram said. "So we didn't think that was him."
The family is upset with the school because they feel like they should have received a phone call that Brooks was missing from the program, but for now, they're just happy everyone is safe and sound.
"He was crying, and my daughter made him go over to the fireman that was there that saved him, and he apologized to him," Ingram said. "And he will never do (anything like) that again."
A spokesman for the city said "The City is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of every young person served by our providers. We are investigating concerns raised about the afterschool program located at IS 131 and will take corrective action, if necessary."