A man and three children drowned in the O’Tom River in Siem Reap province on Sunday after their family’s rowboat filled with water as they were collecting lotus flowers, police said on Tuesday.
A 2-year-old boy reaching for a flower rocked the boat, causing it to take on water, said Chy Bengchun, police chief in Kralanh district.
“The boat was rocking then it sank into the river, which was about 3 or 4 meters deep,” he said.
Len Phan, 42, rescued his wife and teenage son, but drowned when he returned to the river in an attempt to save his niece and two grandchildren who were also on the boat, Mr. Bengchun said.
“The husband rescued his wife and one son—he brought them to land. Then he tried to rescue the other three children, but he became weak and drowned with them,” he said.
He identified the dead relatives as Len Phan’s niece, Mak Sreyphoung, 16, and two grandchildren, Len Sona, 4, and Samnang Vannak, 2.
A funeral ceremony was held on Tuesday morning at the family’s home.