Seven children drown on school trip to the sea near Ho Chi Minh City

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 December, 2013, 12:09am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 December, 2013, 11:32am


Seven Vietnamese schoolchildren drowned while swimming in the sea during a picnic near the southern business hub of Ho Chi Minh City, police said yesterday.

The school trip ended in tragedy on Sunday after the children were swept out to sea by strong waves at Can Gio beach, a coastal area on the outskirts of Vietnam's second city.

"The last bodies were found early Monday morning," a policeman in Can Gio district said, without giving further details.

According to the state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper, the children, between 12 and 14 years old, were part of a group of nearly 100 youngsters attending the picnic.

"Most of them could swim well," a teacher escorting the group said. "Suddenly, the wave became big, pulling the kids away from the shore. Four of them swam back to ask for help but rescue canoes were not immediately available."

The children came from Nguyen Binh Khiem Upper Secondary School in neighbouring Binh Duong province.

Drowning is one of the main causes of child death in Vietnam, especially during the hot summer months and in rural areas.

Efforts to introduce nationwide swimming lessons in schools have been hampered by a lack of facilities and funding.