Two Die From Pump Fumes Inside Water Well in Siem Reap

Two men died from the toxic fumes of their gasoline-powered water pump as they attempted to collect water from a nine-meter-deep water well in Siem Reap province on Sunday, commune officials said yesterday.

Meas Pidor, deputy police chief of Srei Snam district’s Tram Sasar commune, said Chon Meth, 56, and his son-in-law Ping Map, 25, died at about 3:30 pm on Sunday as they were collecting water for villagers.

“The son-in-law went down into the well by the rope, but then he shook around and became unconscious,” Mr Pidour said. “Observ­ing such an incident, his father-in-law also went down [the well] but faced the same fate.”

Mr Meth’s neighbor, 29-year-old Boub Pek, was helping the two men pump water and also fell unconscious after trying to rescue the two stricken men from the well. Mr Pek survived, however, and is recovering in Kralanh district hospital, Mr Pidour said.

Commune chief Lath Soeup said that the two men had hung the running water pump inside the well so its pipe could reach the low-lying water level, adding that the men used the machine to pump water for local villagers every day.

Mr Meth and Mr Map were not breathing when they were recovered from the well, Mr Soeup said.

“They died because they suffocated from the fumes and lack of oxygen,” Mr Soeup said, adding that the water level in the well was very low.

Sunday’s incident is the second reported water-well death in Cam­bodia this year.

In March, six villagers in Kom­pong Cham province died at the bottom of a well when they were suffocated by fumes from a diesel-powered mechanical pump they were trying to install inside the well.

After examining the corpses at the time, district police officers determined that the likely cause of death came both from the inhalation of the pump’s fumes and from drowning into the well water.

The sixth and final villager who entered the well managed to call out a warning to stop anyone else from following him, before falling unconscious.



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