PENDLETON, NY - Niagara County Sheriff's deputies say a 10-year-old Pendleton boy has died after being trapped in a pile of snow.
Sheriff James Voutour identified him as Benjamin Wasik, a fourth-grade student in the Starpoint Central School district.
The Sheriff's says Benjamin Wasik was with his dad and another relative helping plow snow at a family farm. They believe he climbed atop a 15-foot snowbank and became trapped somehow.
The family was able to locate him, and called 911, then began performing CPR. The Niagara County Sheriff's Office, State Police, Twin City Ambulance and the Wendelville Volunteer Fire Company were among the first responders. However, despite their best efforts, Wasik was pronounced dead at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.
The cause of death was determined to be accidental.
Benjamin is remembered for his love of the outdoors, helping out on the farm, fishing and playing baseball.
"This is so out of the ordinary, so tragic," Voutour said. "There's no way you could have predicted it."
The loss is personal for members of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office and other first responders who know the Wasik family well. Voutour described them as a well-known and well-loved family in the Pendleton and Niagara County community.
"The deputies are hurting, the fire company is hurting -- I've been speaking with their chief, and Twin City Ambulance -- no one wants to see a kid die. Nobody should have to bury their child. They're hurting. But they're not hurting like the Wasiks are," Voutour said.
Counselors will be on hand for students in the Starpoint district.