Three schoolgirls drowned on Saturday afternoon in separate incidents in Pursat and Tbong Khmum provinces, local authorities said yesterday.
Sem Vanna, chief of police in Pursat’s Pret Nhy commune, said that two of the victims – Pin Sokpisey, 12, and Bu Eliza, 13, both students at Pursat Secondary School in Prey Nhy – died while swimming in Pursat River.
“Police and villagers tried to find their bodies immediately, but the location where they drowned is a former sand dredging site and there are many holes there; therefore, our emergency team needed to spend more than 30 minutes to find them,” Vanna said.
He added that both bodies were brought home for a traditional funeral to be held by their families.
Meanwhile, in Tbong Khmum’s Lngieng commune, 11-year-old Sung Chakrya of Chek Primary School drowned after falling into a 15-by-30-metre water-filled hole behind her school, which she and her fellow students had been playing around. It was not the first time the hole has claimed a young life, commune police chief Chum Ravuth said yesterday.
“Last year, two children drowned to death in the very same hole,” he said.
According to a World Health Organization report from late 2014, Cambodian children under the age of 15 are almost twice as likely to die of drowning as their peers in other low- to middle-income countries in the region, including Vietnam and Laos.