Two men suffocated at the bottom of a well they were repairing on Saturday morning in Ov Lork village, Bakong Commune, Prasat Bakong district, Siem Reap province, according to local authorities.
Commune police chief Vai Savoeun identified the victims as 39-year-old Chhut Sean, a resident of Ov Lork village, and Yoeum Rath, a 47-year-old resident of Stung village.
The owner of the well and Sean’s sister-in-law, Thith Suon, hired a three-person team to restore the well, according to Savoeun. The third member of the crew was Som Rong.
Savoeun quoted Suon as saying: “After I agreed to let them restore the well for 100,000 riel, they said they would start work on Saturday morning. They asked for 30,000 riel in advance to buy alcohol.
On Saturday morning, the three of them opened the cover of the well, prepared wire and entered the well to restore it. Two of them died in the well, including my brother-in-law.”
According to Savoeun, Rong helped retrieve the victims’ bodies, and on Sunday, he recounted the incident to The Post.
“At first, Rath went down the well to dig out sediment, which caused a water blockage for about 10 minutes.
We could not hear him shouting from the bottom of the well, and Sean went down to check on him.
After that, I heard Sean shout for help. Rath was unconscious and immediately I shouted to the owner of the well to call for help from villagers.
I called Sean to come up but I didn’t hear his reply. When the villagers arrived, we put a pipe into the well to allow air to travel to the bottom. When I went down to help them, they had already died,” Rong said.
District police chief Lim Sambath, who led forensic officials to inspect the bodies of the victims, confirmed that the victims’ deaths were due to a lack of oxygen at the bottom of the well.
Sambath instructed villagers to stop digging deep wells that haven’t been used for years, especially during the summer.
“Old wells that have been out of use for years are usually devoid of enough oxygen, and they can be life-threatening,” he said.