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3 young siblings among 7 dead chasing 75 cents down a well

Cambodia is one of the world's poorest nations. Pictured are traditional poor houses in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the province where seven people descended 16 feet to their deaths just to retrieve 3,000 riel, or what amounts to 75 cents in the U. S.)
Cambodia is one of the world's poorest nations. Pictured are traditional poor houses in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the province where seven people descended 16 feet to their deaths just to retrieve 3,000 riel, or what amounts to 75 cents in the U. S.)Milei.vencel, Creative Commons

Seven people are dead from lack of oxygen after pursuing money down a well, authorities say. According to relatives and police in the remote province of Siem Reap in Cambodia, the seven entered the well late Saturday evening chasing what amounts to 75 cents in American dollars.

The Associated Press reported (via Yahoo News) June 1 that seven people, including three young siblings, died after descending into a village well. An 11-year-old boy jumped in first, hoping to retrieve the money that his father had accidentally dropped when pulling water from the well.

Unfortunately, he was soon joined by six other people.

His older sister, Che Chhan, said when interviewed by phone that two other siblings were among those that went in after the 3,000 riel, which is considered a lot of money in the impoverished area. She said her 13-year-old sister and 15-year-old brother were among the dead.

"My youngest brother thought the amount of money was huge for poor people like us," Che Chhan said.

Police officer Muy Norn said the victims died due to a lack of oxygen when they reached the the bottom of the 16-foot-deep well.

Cambodia is one of the world's poorest countries. According to The World Bank's 2014 assessment, although the Southeast Asian nation has more than halved its number of people living in poverty since 2004, one out of every five (20.5 percent) Cambodians are still below the poverty line. However, at risk are approximately another 20 percent of "near poor," those above but so close to the poverty line that the loss of even 1,200 riel (30 cents) per day in income would result in some 3 million Cambodians falling below the line.