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Failed school ferry crossing claims lives of at least 11 children in Cambodia

Eleven children died when their ferry sank due to excessive load while carrying them home from school across Cambodia’s Mekong river, district policeman Am Thou said on Saturday, lowering the death toll from the previous 14.

Rescuers were sent after one other student as the incident occurred on Thursday in Kandal province about 53 kilometres southeast of the capital Phnom Penh, provincial police chief Chhoeun Sochet told Reuters.

The official said the victims were aged 11 to 14 years.

“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.

The disaster drew out Prime Minister Hun Sen’s condolences on social media. He instructed authorities to assist victims’ families.

The disaster took place a day before former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk’s 10th death anniversary.

The Mekong river is Cambodia’s key water artery that invites millions of Cambodians eking out a living on its riverside. The river does not only traverse Cambodia but also runs through countries such as China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.


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