Community mourns Pendleton fourth grader who died after being trapped in snow

PENDLETON, N.Y. (WIVB)- It’s a tragedy Sheriff Jim Voutour said was impossible to predict.

“No one wants to see a kid die. No one should have to bury their children.”

Wednesday afternoon, 10-year-old Benjamin Wasik was at his grandfather’s farm on Aiken Road in Pendleton, enjoying a snow day.

Despite being told not to, the fourth grader began playing on a 15-foot snow bank not far from his parents.

“They were plowing snow and pushing it up against a barn to get it out of the parking lot are. So it was a pretty significant snow bank, and of course would be attractive to a 10-year-old boy to have a lot of fun on,” Voutour said Thursday.

According to investigators, Wasik somehow fell and became trapped in the snow.

Wasik played baseball in Lockport

“The parents did everything they could to keep an eye on him and as soon as they didn’t see him they started to look for him,” the Sheriff told News 4.

The parents looked in the snowbank where their son had been playing; they found him buried in the snow, not breathing.

According to Sheriff Voutour, the boy was trapped for about 20 minutes. His autopsy shows he died of accidental asphyxiation.

“The first responders did an excellent job yesterday under very difficult circumstances. I think all their efforts gave the best possible scenario for Ben to survive. Unfortunately in this business we don’t save everybody,” Voutour said.

Wasik, who attended the Starpoint Central School District, was pronounced dead at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital Wednesday afternoon.

He leaves behind his parents and a younger sister. The district said in a statement that Wasik will be greatly missed, and will always be part of the Starpoint family.

The 10-year-old loved fishing and playing baseball according to his family.

His death, Sheriff Voutour said, is hitting the entire community very hard.

“They’re great people,” he said of the Wasik family.

“They’re known by a large number of our deputies. Some of our first responders knew them, knew the little boy, that were at that scene. ”

Grief counselors and psychologists are available for both staff and students of the Starpoint Central School District. Extra care is being provided to Wasik’s classmates at Regan Intermediate School.

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