Two men died of asphyxiation due to the low level of oxygen in a well that one of them was working to deepen in Kampong Thom province’s Kampong Svay district, police said yesterday.
Puth Phearak, Trapaing Russey commune deputy police chief, said that victims Sok Thun, 54, and his neighbour, San Kemseng, 23, died on Wednesday afternoon.
“According to the examination, both victims died of suffocation; it means that in the well there was a lack of oxygen,” he said.
Thun’s wife, Long Norn, said yesterday that Thun had decided to deepen the well because it no longer supplied enough water to meet their needs, but soon after entering the well, found he couldn’t breathe.
“‘Honey, please help me! My limbs are getting weak and it is very suffocating down here and I cannot climb up,’” Norn said, recalling her husband’s cries.
It was then that Kemseng, having heard the call for help, arrived and climbed down, but found himself struck by the same symptoms. Norn’s brother-in-law was preparing to climb down too when police arrived and stopped him, fearing that he too would suffocate.
It took authorities about 30 minutes to extract the two men, she added, by which time both were already dead.
Neth Vantha, director of the fire department at the Ministry of Interior, said that when deepening a well, people should first lower down a lit lantern. If the flame goes out, he said, there’s too little oxygen to enter without an air tube.