Two boys drowned and another survived when their boat sank in a river on Tuesday in Prey Veng province’s Sdao Korng commune.
Sdao Korng commune police chief Tes Sophat on Wednesday said Bo Reaksmey, 12, and Seng Bunkheang, 14, died in the incident while villagers rescued Meng Ponlok, 15.
He noted that the three boys were cousins.
“They were too brave and did not follow their parents’ orders to not play in the river because they could not swim. They were told not to row the boat without the presence of an adult,” he said.
Reaksmey’s father Mean Sambok said he was attending his sister’s wedding in neighbouring Preah Sdach district across the river when the incident occurred.
“Before leaving for the wedding, I warned my kid not to play in the water or row the boat because it’s dangerous,” he said, adding he received a call over the incident upon arriving at the wedding.
He said Ponlok, the rescued boy who is his nephew, told him the boys were trying to use the boat to cross the river and join the wedding party after losing patience as they waited for a water taxi.
He said the boys spotted a small boat nearby and thought they could use it to make the journey, but it sank about 40 metres away from the shore on the other side of the river.
Sambok said his nephew was rescued by villagers bathing in the river nearby the capsized boat. The villagers also tried to rescue the other boys, but they disappeared underwater.
Villager Kong Sinan, who rescued Ponlok, said he heard the shouts of the boys, including their screaming: “Go back, it’s going to sink”.
“I yelled to other villagers for help, then I swam to help the oldest boy and took him to land,” he said. “I went back, but the two others had disappeared.”
He said other villagers then discovered their lifeless bodies.