An 11-year-old boy died after he attempted to rescue his 12-year-old friend who had fallen through ice into a frozen pond.

Anthony Perez was playing with Juan Impierrez, 12, at Forest Park in Queens, New York, when the tragedy struck on Tuesday (5 January).

Anthony managed to push his friend to safety but got trapped in the ice and could not follow him out.

Firefighters waded into the chest-high waters and pulled the boy from the pond. He was pronounced dead on arrival at nearby Jamaica hospital, despite efforts by medics to rescue him. Two firefighters were treated for hypothermia.

"He [Anthony] was able to push him [Juan] out to safety but he fell through ice and he couldn't get out", police said. "He only went out to the ice after the other kid fell through."

Neighbours paid tribute to Anthony and praised his heroic efforts to save his young friend.

"I'm going to call him a hero: He's a hero," Carmen Rivera told the New York Post. "He's friendly with a lot of people, not shy — he loves to help. He's a nice little kid."

"He's a good kid, he's a really great kid. It's a shame something bad had to happen," said Leonardo Coraci.

"It used to be a baseball field before it was a pond, and they actually had to change it into a stinking pond. They should have kept it as a baseball field. It stinks."

The Fire Department of New York has urged parents and youngsters to be extra careful around frozen ice.

"We implore you: Tell your children, the ice is not safe. It's not going to support your weight. And there can be tragic consequence," a spokesman for the department said.