Upstate mom asks parents to warn children of the icy pond dangers


After hearing about two young girls falling through the ice in Travelers Rest Monday, a Simpsonville mother is speaking out on the anniversary of her son’s tragedy, more than two decades later.

It was January 12th, 1996 when Karen Camerato lost her first-born.

“The ice beneath Nicholas broke,” Camerato told 7 News Friday, on the 22nd anniversary of her son’s death.

“The divers showed up. There was another boy that fell in that day.”

Nicholas Camerato, 8, and and Brandon Hatsell, 11, were playing on a pond off of Cedar Ridge Lane in Simpsonville the day they lost their lives.

They were off from school, enjoying a snow day, Camerato explained.  She said they walked over to a nearby pond and started walking out on the ice.

Hatsell fell first and her son Nicholas tried to help him, according to Camerato.

“I can remember sitting on the side of the pond, just looking at the water in disbelief thinking that Nicholas could be in there.”

It took divers more than an hour to pull the boys out of the icy waters.

Nicholas Camerato was pronounced dead at hospital.

Now, inspired by the loss of her son and a similar accident in the Upstate on Monday, Karen Camerato is asking parents to talk to their children about the dangers of walking onto the ice.

On Monday, two young girls in Travelers Rest fell through the ice at a small pond after sledding down a nearby hill.

Emergency responders were able to pull the girls out using ropes, saving their lives.

“The ponds in South Carolina, the lakes in South Carolina, and a lot of southern states are just never going to get cold enough, frozen enough to bare the weight of a human being,” said Camerato.

She said she heard about the accident shortly after it happened and was distraught that it happened during the same week her son lost his life, years back.

Camerato hopes that by keeping the conversation going about these accidents, it will prevent another tragedy from happening.

“I’m just doing something for Nicholas, by spreading the word… so that no other parent has to go through it, and no other child loses their life.”

Camerato, now a parent of two, also created a website Friday called, “Rising Above In Memory Of,” to help other grieving parents take positive action in memory of their children.