Two high school students living in Kampong Thom province’s Stung Sen town drowned while swimming in the river on Sunday afternoon, according to police.
Chhor Thaileang, 15, and Ek Piseth, 16, were wading in shallow waters with two others when they slipped into a deep part of the river, said Srayov commune police chief Korng Sorn. Unlike their friends, Thaileang and Piseth did not know how to swim, he added. Locals gathering nearby tried to help them but were too late.
The pair were said to be outstanding students who were well-liked.
Stung Sen town police chief Nhern Chunly said that at least one person drowned every year in the “deep spot” of the river where the two boys were swimming. Although he said he personally doesn’t believe in superstitions about the place, the victims’ families, villagers and monks yesterday held a ritual to chase away bad spirits from the area.
A World Health Organization report released last November found that the risk of drowning was about twice as high for Cambodian children aged 15 and below as it is for kids in other low- to middle-income countries in the region.