The boat accident that resulted in the death of a 13-year-old student in Kampong Thom’s Prasat Sambo district last weekend ended with the owner of the vessel contributing about nine million riel (about $2,250) to the girl's family. No further legal action was taken.

District police chief Khuon Vuthy said that after the cremation of her body on June 10, the boat’s operator and owner, Soeu Youn, 40, and the girl’s parents met at the home of the village chief under the coordination of local authorities. The victim's family did not make significant demands for compensation.

According to Vuthy, the owner decided to offer the money to the family of the student, and her parents agreed to accept it without further complaint.

“The victim’s family did not file any complaint. They just asked the boat operator to contribute some money for the funeral, and she offered them nine million riel. The family accepted it without any negotiation,” he said on June 12.

“The girl’s family did not sue the boat owner because they understand that it happened by accident without any intent,” he added.

Vuthy said that Youn is not wealthy and provides the service to support her three children and elderly mother, adding that her husband left to work in other provinces years ago and suggested he likely has another wife.

“The issue ends with [this] contribution. The boat owner is poor as well. She has provided the service for years, and this is her first mishap. Boat accidents also occur in other places, not only here,” he explained.

He said the boat owner was scared after the accident and stopped running the service and transferred the boat to her brother so he could bring it up to safety standards.

Vuthy added that in response to the incident, 40 life jackets were provided to the four boats that service the Stung Sen River crossing, for students to wear while travelling to school. Authorities are also studying the feasibility of building a bridge in the area.

Following the accident, due to the service lacking proper standards, the Kampong Thom Provincial Administration advised all boat business owners on June 10 not to use boats linked together for transporting people, especially students.

It also said owners and operators must check the technical specifications of the vessels, including life jackets and buoys, ropes and lighting, and employ a security guard at the port to ensure passenger safety.

In addition, the administration stated owners must place safety signs for passengers, and the boat operator must have a driver's licence.

In October 2022, a boat accident in Koh Chamroeun village, Kampong Phnom commune in Kandal province’s Loeuk Dek district killed 11 students. Authorities have since prepared a new boat with the proper equipment and promised to build a bridge.

Kampong Phnom commune chief Nov Touch said that a concrete bridge has been under construction for three months, funded by a government budget of approximately $4 million, to allow people to cross to Chamroeun Island.

“It is a very strong concrete bridge. [Its construction] is crucial for transporting agricultural products and ensuring timely travel. Parents will no longer worry about the safety of their children. However, the loss of 11 students remains a tragedy,” he said, adding that the construction is expected to be completed by 2025.