At least 14 children dead in Cambodia after boat sinks

The small boat was overloaded and sank about 50m from its destination in southeastern Kandal province. PHOTO: POLICE COMMISSARIAT OF KANDAL PROVINCE/FACEBOOK

Phnom Penh - At least 14 children were killed in Cambodia after a boat that was ferrying them home from an English class sank in the Mekong river, police said on Friday.

The small boat was overloaded and sank about 50m from its destination in southeastern Kandal province after it began taking on water late on Thursday, local police chief Am Thou said.

Rescue teams were searching for one other student, provincial police chief Chhoeun Sochet said.

The victims were aged 11 to 14 years, he added.

“This case is caused by the boat owner overloading the vessel, carelessness, and there were no life jackets for protection,” he said in a social media post.  

Two students and two adult boat operators survived, according to AFP new agency.

In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his condolences and urged people to be cautious during heavy floods that have raised the level of the Mekong.

“People, especially those living along the river, should be very careful when the flood situation is increasing,” he said, referring to the ongoing monsoon season.

Boat accidents are common in the South-east Asian nation, with people who live along the river reliant on them for transport.

In 2009, an overloaded river ferry capsized in north-eastern Cambodia killing at least 17 passengers. REUTERS, AFP

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