10-year-old Pendleton boy dies after getting trapped in snow pile

Mar 16, 2017

A 10-year-old Pendleton boy died Tuesday after he became trapped in the 15-foot-high snow bank he was playing in.

Credit Niagara County Sheriff's Office

Emergency personnel responded to a family farm on Aiken Road around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. There, they found Benjamin Wasik was not breathing. First aid was given at the scene and Wasik was taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, but did not survive. An autopsy determined his cause of death to be asphyxiation by entrapment.

Wasik was a fourth grader at Regan Intermediate School. He was described Wednesday as an outdoorsman who loved fishing and baseball. Counselors and psychologists are at the school Thursday to help grief-stricken students and staff. 

The Starpoint Central School District issued a statement from School Superintendent Dr. Sean Croft Thursday:  

“It is with great sadness that we share the news of the tragic, accidental death of Benjamin Wasik, a 4th grade student at Regan Intermediate School. The entire Starpoint community expresses our sincere condolences to the Wasik family and friends. Benjamin will be greatly missed and will always be a part of the Starpoint family.

I was made aware of the tragic news yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, March 15, 2017) through the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office and our team immediately began planning to provide appropriate emotional support to students and staff on Thursday morning. The District Crisis Team met early Thursday morning and finalized a plan to provide support to the students and staff. Extra care was given to students in the child’s classroom. Throughout the day, psychologists, counselors, social workers have been meeting with students and staff to assist them in working through the grieving process.

It is our utmost priority to support the wellbeing of our students in the difficult days and weeks ahead. This afternoon a letter will be sent home to all parents with students in the Regan Intermediate School. The parent letter indicates that each student may react differently to a tragic occurrence such as this. We are encouraging parents to listen carefully to their children, answer questions openly and honestly, and let them know it may not be possible to answer all of their questions. We are also reassuring parents that appropriate social-emotional support systems will be in place at Starpoint to assist students in the days and weeks ahead.”