Three Brothers Drown While Playing in Rain

Three brothers drowned to­ge­ther while playing in a rain storm in Phnom Penh Friday, leaving their parents childless.

Pov Ratha, 11, Pov Rathny, 9, Pov Voleak, 7, were among about 70 children who had been using the embankment of a dam in Ch­bar Ampou II commune, Mean­chey district, as a slide on Friday, Kuch Chamroeun, district governor, said. The dam had re­cently been built to protect the community from flood waters.

The governor said that excavation at the foot of the new embankment resulted in water-filled channels, some of which were 7 meters deep. “Children can easily drown there if their parents are careless,” Kuch Chamroeun said.

Commune Chief Sin Sakhon said no one witnessed the deaths, but the boys’ bodies were found at the bottom of the em­bank­ment.

The boys’ father, Pov Sok­­pheak, 33, and mother, Keo Sop­hat, 30, accused the dam builder of negligence, Sin Sakhon said.

Chem Nheik, owner of the site, confirmed that the victims’ parents had complained and threatened to take him to court for carelessness.

Chem Nheik denied responsibility, saying that the children couldn’t be seen from the construction site. “I can’t be held ac­countable for the children who go sliding on the dam,” he said. “I spent $40,000 to build the dam for public use. Why do the victims’ parents sue me?”

“I pity them,” Chem Nheik said. “If they ask for help, I will provide support. But if they complain, let the court decide the law.”

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