Four girls aged between 9-12 years drowned in a man-made pond in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday.
The grandmother of Luong Duong Mong Trinh, one of the victims, said that Nguyen Ngoc Kieu Anh, who went out playing with the four children that afternoon, rushed to tell her that one of them had fallen into a pond and three others had tried to help her, but had fallen in themselves as well.
"I called others for help, but it was too late," the old woman said.
The children from Binh Tan District's Binh Tri Dong A Ward were hospitalized, but Trinh, Dinh Van Phung and Nguyen Tran Yen Linh died soon after.
Nine-year-old Nguyen Tran Tuyet Anh, Linh's younger sister, died one day after being treated at Cho Ray Hospital.
Ho Van Cong, vice chairman of the ward's People's Committee, said the pond, originally used for planting water spinach and lotus, belonged to Yem Ha, who bought it in 2001.
She then transferred the pond together with the land to her younger brother, Tran Tuan Kiet, who last month dug it deeper to raise fish. The pond was now 1.5-2 meters deep, Cong said.
Residents said the pond was deep and the surrounding area was slippery, but its owner did not bother erect fences around it.
The families of the victims said their children had never bathed in ponds earlier.
Local police are investigating the accident.