Two children were involved in a tragic accident in the small community of Greenwich, New York Tuesday. The boys were playing in a snow bank when they became trapped inside. One did not survive. Police still do not know the exact cause of the accident.
Police say two seventh grade students at Greenwich Junior-Senior High School became trapped Tuesday night inside a snowbank piled with dense, hard-packed snow in an open area.
Both boys were recovered from the snowbank. One boy, 12-year-old Tyler Day, was found alert and was transported to Saratoga Hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia and released Wednesday morning.
The other boy, 13-year-old Joshua Demarest, was found unresponsive and was administered CPR before being transferred to Saratoga Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to Greenwich Police Chief George Bell, a call came around 5 p.m. that the boys were missing.
Responding officers followed footsteps to a nearby snow pile made by municipal snowplows. The boys had sleds with them, which were found at the scene, and were apparently burrowing into the snow.
A state police K-9 unit was used to help locate the boys.
“In the meantime they did, one of the investigators, did a walkaround. It’s a big, long, big area, but he did a walkaround the backside of the snowbanks and saw one of the sleds sticking out underneath the snow,” said Bell.
Along with Greenwich and State Police, New York State DEC Forest Rangers, the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Greenwich Volunteer Fire Department and Eastern Greenwich Rescue Squad assisted.
“I don’t want to sound like we’re tooting our own horn, we get paid to do this and we did and we recovered the kids,” said Bell. “But these guys, there was probably a dozen-and-a-half guys last night. They moved, and I say seven ton, it may be heavy, it may be light, I don’t know. But if you saw the size of the pile and the amount of snow that these guys unearthed in 10 minutes to unearth those two kids was just truly amazing.”
Bell said he interviewed the surviving child. The boy described hearing beeping before it went black. Bell called the incident a tragedy and that there’s no definitive answer as to what caused the boys to become trapped in the snow.
If the boys were trapped by plows, Department of Public Works plows were last reported in the area around 3:30 in the afternoon. Because the boys were not recovered until around 7:15, they could have been buried for more than 3-and-a-half hours.
Greenwich Schools Superintendent Mark Fish described Demarest, the boy who was killed, as somebody liked by his peers who enjoyed soccer.
The loss of the boy is a shock to the small Washington County town.
Fish said grief counselors would be on campus as long as they are needed.
“It’s a small, close community. It’s what makes Greenwich special. And we have about a thousand students here on a small campus school. Everybody in town knows everybody and this is certainly a tragic situation.”
At the beginning of the winter season, the story is quickly spreading. Chief Bell said he had gotten calls from as far away as Canada.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for Demarest's family.