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Toddler lifted up from well

A toddler in Ratanakkiri province’s Banlung town had a brush with death on Saturday when he fell down a 33-metre-deep well.

Twenty-seven-month-old Menh Ly was playing with a friend next to his mother, 22-year-old Sok Heng, when he fell down the shaft on Saturday afternoon, his uncle, Hen Samnang, said yesterday.

“He climbed up a wooden board covering the well to play and accidentally fell into it,” he said.

According to Samnang, who arrived at the scene following the accident, people gathered were too frightened to answer Ly’s calls for help.

“We were panicked and shocked to death when we saw him inside the well. He cried ‘Mum, Papa,’ but we didn’t dare climb down to help him by ourselves,” he said, adding that the water in the well was more than a metre deep.

After about 20 minutes, a motodop came to the rescue.

“The motodop said my nephew’s stomach was full of water . . . He climbed down the well and tied a scarf [to Ly] and carried him up,” Samnang said.

The family gave the motodop $100 in thanks, he added.

Hing Phan Sokunthea, a doctor at Ratanakkiri provincial hospital where Ly was checked in after the accident, said there was no long-term damage.

“He is in good health. He just got slightly injured on his skin and returned home,” he said.

Laban Siek commune police chief Bunheng said Saturday’s incident was the first recorded in his commune.

Earlier this month, three people died at the bottom of a well in Kratie province after trying to save a drowning dog, while in June, seven people died in a similar incident in Siem Reap province after the father of a poor family dropped 3,000 riel ($0.75) and a lighter into a well, leading others to follow.

In both cases, police and health officials attributed the deaths to the wells’ low level of oxygen.

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