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Cambodia Tragedy Leaves Seven Dead, Including Four Children, After Boy Climbs Into Well To Retrieve Just 45p

03/06/2014 10:59 BST | Updated 03/06/2014 11:59 BST
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Seven people, including four children, have died in Cambodia after an 11-year-old boy climbed down a well to retrieve the equivalent of 45p.

In a series of tragic events, six other people died attempting to rescue him in the northwestern province of Siem Reap.

According to the Phnom Penh Post, the disaster began after a 50-year-old man, Tuy Chen, dropped 3,000 riel and a cigarette lighter into the five metre deep well.

After trying unsuccessfully to retrieve his money he abandoned his efforts, but left the bamboo pole he had used to slide down into the well in place.

After being told about the money one of his children also used the pole to slide into the 16-foot shaft but fell into a coma due to lack of oxygen.

The little boy’s older sister, Che Chhan, said her 13-year-old sister and 15-year-old brother also died in a desperate attempt to rescue the boy, as well as four of her neighbours, including a 12-year-old.

She said that the family lived in poverty and it was this that caused the children's deaths, the Times Of India reported.

“My youngest brother thought the amount of money was huge for poor people like us,” Che Chhan said by phone.

"I wanted to blame my father, because if he did not tell them about the money, they would not have died. But it's over now. They would not come back if I blamed my father... but the villagers blame my father and say he was careless."

Officials said that the victims were unaware that, though safe during the day, oxygen levels in the well would fall dangerously low in the evenings.

"These three kids are siblings, and when their neighbours heard about the kids lost in the well, they also climbed down to help. But the four people who tried to help, they also died one after the other in the same well," Muy Norn, the district's acting police chief, told the Phnom Penh Post.

An eighth person who had also attempted a rescue had survived and was in a serious condition.

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