Ferry boat capsizes in Cambodia, killing 11 students

Ferry boat capsizes in Cambodia, killing 11 students

In southern Cambodia, eleven students drowned while crossing a river on a boat that crashed, according to officials. Following the mishap Thursday evening on the Mekong River southeast of Phnom Penh, authorities said that four people—two students and two members of the boat's crew—were rescued.
According to Maj. Gen. Chhoeun Sochet, the head of the Kandal Provincial Police, the body of a missing 14-year-old boy was discovered early on Saturday.

The pupils, aged between 12 and 14, were coming back after an English class. They were villagers who resided on an island in the river and commuted by ferry nearly every day during the rainy season. The river occasionally has little to no water during the dry season and is walkable. According to the police chief, the boat was overcrowded and was missing life jackets.

The disaster happened close to the Neak Loeung bridge over the Mekong, which at that time divided Prey Veng on the east bank from Kandal province on the western shore. The bridge is a component of Route 1, a main thoroughfare that links the capital, Phnom Penh, to Ho Chi Minh City in the adjacent Vietnamese city of Vietnam.

Am Thou, the police chief in Kandal's Leuk Daek district, claimed that the mishap happened as the boat was drawing near to the shore. The pupils were told to shift to seats in the middle or stern of the boat as it began to take on water in the bow. The boat, however, lost balance as they were making their way back and capsized.

The two boat operators were taken to the hospital following the tragedy and would face legal prosecution, according to police head Am Thou. They would be charged with what, he did not specify.

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