Four children drowned on Tuesday morning in Kompong Speu province in a pond that was created after dirt was removed from the area to build a road, leaving behind a hole that filled with water, a police official said.
A group of five children—Phy Dany, 6; Touch Voan, 4; Sai Nymai, 5; Long Sreyleak, 8; and Sai Sok Khea, 8—were playing in the shallow end of the pond in Oral district’s Horng Samnam commune about 70 meters from a rice field where villagers were working, district police chief Buth Bunthoeun said.
“The children were swimming at the shallow part of the pond, but they might have moved themselves to the deep part of the pond and then drowned,” he said.
Ram Ry, Phy Dany’s mother, told police she was harvesting rice in the field and noticed the children playing in the hole, but realized about 20 minutes later that she could no longer hear or see them, Mr. Bunthoeun said.
She ran to check on them and saw two bodies floating in the water, he said. After calling for help from her husband, they jumped into the water and discovered the bodies of their daughter and the two other children.
The couple along with other villagers took the five children back to the village, at which point they realized that one of them, Sai Sok Khea, was still alive, the police chief said, adding that the boy was briefly sent to the hospital but had already fully recovered.
According to Mr. Bunthoeun, the hole the children were swimming in was created after dirt was dug out from it to build a local road.
Khen Thon, the chief of Horng Samnam commune, said that although it was the first time anyone had drowned in the manmade hole, he planned to block it off so children wouldn’t swim there anymore.
“I think I’m going to build a fence to prevent children from drowning,” Mr. Thon said.