Four students from the central province of Khanh Hoa drowned when swimming in an area known for deadly rip currents on Wednesday.
Local officials said a group of seventh graders of Nguyen Hue Junior High School in Van Ninh District went to a beach around seven kilometers from school after class in the morning.
They were caught in strong rip currents. Locals managed to save three of them. Bodies of the victims, aged 13 and 14, have been recovered.
Tran Ngoc Khiem, a district vice chairman, said there is a sign banning people from swimming in the area, which is located in Van Tho Commune, Van Ninh District.
“The incident was unfortunate,” he told news website VnExpress.
Last month, two teenage students in Khanh Hoa and nine sixth graders in the central province of Quang Ngai also drowned while swimming.
Drowning is the leading cause of death in Vietnam among children aged 5 to 14, according to a World Health Organization Report in 2014.
Vietnam’s ministry of social affairs said Vietnam has an average of 10 fatal child drownings a day, which is the highest rate in Southeast Asia and ten times that of developed countries.
As a country with 3,260 kilometers of coastline, innumerable rivers, canals and ponds, Vietnam has failed to make swimming lessons part of the standard school curriculum.
Most swimming classes are either held by charity groups in rural areas or larger schools in urban areas.
Since 2008, primary school teachers in the Mekong Delta’s Dong Thap Province have held free classes using makeshift swimming pools in the very rivers that routinely claim local children’s lives during the monsoon.