A 10-year-old Niagara County boy is dead after being trapped in a pile of snow, according to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies say it happened Wednesday around 3:30 p.m. on Aiken Road in the Town of Pendleton at the Wasik Farm.
Investigators say it appears as if Benjamin Wasik was digging a tunnel in a 15' high pile of plowed snow when it collapsed on him. Prior to the accident, police say the boy's father had warned his son to stay off the snow.
The child was taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities said an autopsy showed that the cause of death was accidental asphyxiation.
The little boy was a 4th grader at Regan Intermediate School in the Starpoint Central School District.
First responders in Niagara County are taking the death hard because they made every effort to save the boy's life. Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour said Amherst Police even cleared intersections so an ambulance could race non-stop to the hospital.
Police say the child's parents were watching him and became worried when he could not be found. It took about twenty minutes of searching to finally locate the boy inside the large snow pile.
While police say there is evidence that Benjamin was digging a snow tunnel, the snow was still quite loose from being freshly plowed.
The tragedy has touched the hearts of many people in Pendleton and Lockport where the Wasik family is well known. 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in his reports.