At least six people, including five children, drowned to death Tuesday in three separate accidents across Vietnam while a seventh victim is in hospital.
The first of them claimed the lives of Hoang Van Minh, 47, and his nieces Cu Hoang Khanh Ha, 12, and Cu Hoang Khanh Linh, 10, at around 2 p.m.
Ha and Linh of Ho Chi Minh City were spending their summer holidays in their parents' hometown in the north central province of Thanh Hoa.
After lunch Minh took the pair to a lake and rowed across it in a small boat to a cave.
The boat suddenly started to rock and sank.
A duck farmer from whom Minh had rented the boat jumped into the lake to search for them after he failed to see them return.
He also enlisted other locals' help for the search.
It took several hours for the three bodies to be found.
The girls' bodies were brought back to HCMC for the funeral.
Meanwhile, in a canal in the northern province of Phu Tho, at around 3 p.m. Tran Thi Khuyen and her cousin Dinh Tran Thi Giang, both nine, were found dead.
A man living nearby fished their bodies out after his wife told him she saw two bodies floating and two pair of shoes on the banks.
The man and nearby residents tried to provide first aid, but the girls were dead already.
The canal, several hundred meters long, is situated in a residential area, but there are no warning signs.
The police are investigating the deaths.
In the third accident, a seven-year-old boy died after trying to save another boy from drowning in an abandoned well in the southern province of Dong Nai. 35 kilometers to the northeast of HCMC.
Nguyen Phuoc Duc was walking past the well when he saw Nguyen Mai Thanh Phu, also seven, struggling in the water.
He jumped in but both began to weaken and gradually drown.
Local residents arrived at the site and rescued the boys, both in critical condition.
After two hours of treatment at a local hospital, Duc could not make it. Phu went into a coma and is being treated at the Dong Nai Children's Hospital.
Drowning deaths are frequently reported from all parts of the country.
Official figures show that more than 6,000 children drown every year, and the number is increasing.
The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs said the number of child deaths due to drowning is 10 times higher in Vietnam than other developing countries.
The country has 3,260 kilometers of coastline plus innumerable rivers, canals, and ponds, and experts blame the government for failing to make swimming part of the school curriculum.