Four teenage girls in the central province of Ha Tinh fell into a river and died on Saturday while trying to catch oysters; the following day, two brothers in neighboring Nghe An Province died after slipping into a pond.
The family members of the Ha Tinh girls went looking for the four schoolmates after they failed to come home for dinner.
After finding nothing but their slippers and two bicycles left on the riverbank, they approached local officials to help organize a search.
It took the families and officials all night to recover the bodies of Dau Thi Dao, 15, Tran Thi Ninh and Vo Thi Thanh Nga, 14, and Nguyen Thi Chi, 13.
Pham Khac Son, the girls' school principal, said they went to the river every summer to catch oysters to sell at the market and help their parents pay for their tuition, books and clothes for the next school year.
The girls usually brought along rice balls for lunch as the work usually took the whole day, Son said.
Tran Anh Dan, a commune official, said: “The four may have tried to climb along a water pipeline that runs above the river to reach the other side, and slipped.”
None of them could swim and there was no one around at the time to rescue them.
The pipeline carries clean water to the Vung Ang economic zone.
The Nghe An brothers, Nguyen Anh Tan, 9, and Nguyen Anh Phat, 6, went to the field with their grandmother to help her clear weeds and died in a nearby pond after she told them they could try to catch some fish.
The family is also poor.
Vietnam has the highest drowning rate in Southeast Asia - an average of nine a day, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs said June 16.