Three children – two sisters and a boy – drowned on Thursday morning in Svay Rieng province after their boat capsized while they were looking for shells and lotus flowers in a local stream.
The incident happened in Donsa village in Svay Chrum district’s Donsa commune. Commune chief Chea Sim told The Post on Thursday that villagers found the children at about 10am.
The sisters were identified as Chun Srey Neang, 14, and Chun Srey Neth, 11.
The boy, Ly Ratana, seven, was staying with his grandmother in the village while his widowed mother worked in a garment factory in Phnom Penh.
Sim said at around 8am, the three got together to ride a boat on the nearby Donsa stream and that local villagers said the children went out in the boat to find shells and lotus flowers.
When they reached a deeper part of the stream, he said, the boat turned over. None of the children could swim, Sim said, and there was no one around to hear their cries for help, ending in them drowning.
“Their bodies were found and fished out at around 10am. The boat flipped and sank because too much water got in."
“The boat was found floating underneath the water. By the position of their bodies, the victims were clearly trying to cling onto the boat,” he said.
Sim said the girls’ parents had taken their other child, who had dengue fever, to the hospital in the province, while the boy’s grandmother was busy making and selling food at the market.
“The girls’ mother and father were taking their other child to a hospital in the province. When the father returned home, he couldn’t find his daughters and became concerned. It was then he found out his daughters had drowned,” he said.
Donsa village chief Yim Saray said no children had drowned in the stream before. He said the three victims were supposed to go to school that day, but the teacher was busy.
“Normally, they would be in school, but today school was cancelled because the teacher was in a meeting,” he said.
Donsa commune police chief Tit Sothea said there were no suspicious circumstances.
“They were in a boat looking for shells in the local stream. Maybe they had a fight which caused the boat to turn over,” he said.