Rescuers recovered the bodies of three 16-year-old campers who drowned while bathing in a pagoda’s pond on Thursday in the north-central province of Ha Tinh.
Tran Le Duc Anh, Nguyen Hoang Thinh and Le Quang Tuan, all 11th graders from Le Viet Thuat High School in Nghe An Province, were found dead in a pond outside the Phong Phan Pagoda in Nghi Xuan District.
According to police, the pagoda had organized a summer camp designed to teach Buddhist law to around 500 high school students between July 20 and 23.
At around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the camp concluded and the campers were told to go home.
But 11 high school students from Nghe An Province stayed at the pagoda to play.
At around 6 p.m. that day, they jumped a fence around the pagoda's pond and waded into the water.
Four kids began to sink and their friends only managed to pull one ashore.
The other three were sucked into the water.
When the pagoda’s authorities were informed of the news, they called police to the site to conduct a search.
The boys' bodies were recovered at around 12:45 a.m. on Thursday.
Police said the pond was rather deep and the boys could not swim.
According to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, the number of child drowning deaths in Vietnam is 10 times higher than in other developing countries.
The largest number of cases occur in Hanoi, the north-central provinces of Nghe An and Thanh Hoa, and the Mekong Delta provinces of Tien Giang, Dong Thap, An Giang, and Long An.
The country has 3,260 kilometers of coast and innumerable rivers and canals, but the government has failed to enable schools to include swimming as part of the standard curriculum.