A FATHER and three of his children are believed to have drowned after a boat carrying seven people capsized due to strong winds Wednesday morning in Kandal province, police officials said.
However, a senior government meteorologist questioned that rough conditions were to blame for the tragedy.
The accident happened Wednesday in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district, when the family was returning home after visiting a relative in a neighbouring village, said police Deputy Commissioner Chan Savoeun.
The four victims have been identified as Phoeun Saran, 33; his two sons, Ran Reut, 8, and Ran Rathana, 5; and his 3-year-old daughter, Ran Sokna.
Officials have managed to retrieve only the daughter’s body.
“I think the father felt nervous when the boat capsized, and he could not think of what to do,” Chan Savoeun said. “If he left his children, he would have saved himself.”
The victim’s wife and nieces, who were also on the boat, escaped after villagers rushed to their aid, said Lvea Em district Governor Bun Pheng.
However, a government meteorologist questioned the official explanation of why the boat capsized.
Seth Vannareth, director of the Department of Meteorology, noted that her department did not detect any signs of turbulent weather in the area Wednesday.
“The capsizing of the boat was not caused by a storm, but rather the carelessness of the boat owner, or the boat was overloaded,” she said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY TEP NIMOL