Four Children Drown in Kom­pong Chhnang River

Four children drowned in Kom­pong Chhnang province late Tuesday afternoon after a young boy fell into a river and his friends tried to save him, police said Wednesday.

A group of five children were on their way to a shallow part of the river in Kompong Tralach district’s Peani commune when one of them slipped and fell in, district police chief Mean Sophenn said.

“The children tried to help the first kid that slipped and fell into the river, but three of them drowned while trying to help,” he said, adding that the fifth boy survived by holding on to a bamboo plant and calling for help until a passing farmer heard his cries and carried him to safety.

“He lost consciousness after the farmer pulled him from the water. After he was given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, he woke up and told the villagers about the other kids that drowned,” Mr. Sophenn said.

A group of five or six local men rushed to the spot and began diving to search for the children, recovering the bodies of Heng Vicheka, Ouch Sreyleak, and siblings Khon Sreyroth and Khon Dara, all aged between 7 and 12, Mr. Sophenn said.

“It was too late for those kids,” Mr. Sophenn said. “They had never learned to swim.”

Commune chief Un Khoeun blamed the deaths on negligence, and said that children needed

to be watched more closely in general.

“They died because of careless parents that did not advise their kids about the possibility of drowning or the dangers of swimming,” Mr. Khoeun said

“In the near future, I will have a meeting in my commune with all parents to educate them on how to prevent their children from drowning and other risky situations,” he added.

In Samann, director of the district social affairs department, said it was the first case of drowning there this year and that two people had also drowned last year.

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