At least 9 students drowned in southern Cambodia after the ferry they were onboard capsized as it crossed a river.
4 people, 2 students, and 2 of the vessel's crew members were rescued following the accident on Thursday night, October 13, on the Mekong River southeast of Phnom Penh.
2 students were still missing on Friday, October 14, police said.
According to Major General Chhoeun Sochet, chief of the Kandal provincial police, the boat had been overloaded and carried no life jackets.
The students, all between 12 and 14 years old, lived on an island in the river. They used the ferry for transport almost every day during the rainy season, as did others from their native village.
During the dry season, the river has little/no water and can be traversed on foot. The students were on their way to an English class when the vessel capsized.
Am Thou, the police chief in Kandal's Leuk Daek district, said the accident had occurred as the boat was approaching the shore. It had taken on water in the bow, and the students had been instructed to move to seats in the middle/stern. However, as they walked back, the ferry became unbalanced and turned over.
On his royal Facebook page, King Norodom Sihamoni offered condolences and prayers for the families of the victims.
According to Police chief Am Thou, the boat's owners, who were also its crew, had been hospitalized after the accident but would face legal action.