Seven people including five children died when their car fell into the Tonle Bassac river on the way back from their grandparents’ grave ceremony in Kandal’s Sa’ang district on Sunday night, police said.
According to district deputy police chief Vong Klang, the driver of the car was attempting to board a ferry when the vehicle’s rear wheels became stuck between the ferry and pier. When the ferry operator told the driver to accelerate, the car slammed into a piece of wood and veered into the river.
The driver, Sok Sarak, and his wife, Khorn Brang, both survived the accident, but the vehicle’s owner, Voeung Voeun, 35, his wife Khorn Len, 35, daughter Voeun Kemlang, 13, and nieces and nephews Soeun Sovanarith, 7; Soeun Sovanareach, 4; Rak Chhainara, 12; and Chan Thorn Rachana, 12, all perished.
Ferry operator Sem Ratanak said the driver’s carelessness in not telling the passengers to get out of the car, unlock their seatbelts or open their windows contributed to the accident.
“The driver has not followed directions and he had drunk alcohol as well,” said Ratanak.
District police chief Klang said that the Kandal provincial prosecutor ordered the arrest of the driver and the boat operator for interrogation.
“Two of them were [preliminarily] charged with carelessness, which caused unintentional death,” Klang said.