Three Siblings Drown in Siem Reap Irrigation Canal

Three siblings playing in an irrigation canal swollen by recent flooding drowned on Sunday in Siem Reap province, police said on Monday.

The children—Keopich Sovanpanha, 5, Keopich Raksa, 8, and Keopich Raingsey, 14—had gone to the canal with an older sister and a cousin, Puok district police chief Tep Pumsen said.

“They were swimming together,” Mr. Pumsen said. “When the older sister saw her siblings drowning she went over to help.”

But the older girl could not save them, he said, and nearly drowned along with her cousin.

The police chief said the canal had not been deep enough for swimming in previous years, but recent flooding in the area had made it about 4 meters deep in some places.

He said police have started more regular patrols and placed a danger sign by the water along with a string of water bottles for swimmers to grab in case of trouble.

Hundreds of Cambodian children die from drowning every year. In 2014, the World Health Organization said it was the leading cause of death in the country among children between the ages of 5 and 14.

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