Two Dead After Ratanakkiri Gem Mine Collapses

Two people—including a teenage boy—died on Friday in Ratanakkiri province’s Lumphat district when a hole they were mining for gemstones collapsed.

District deputy governor Sou Phally said on Sunday that Nhim Thoeng, 25, and Thoeng Rith, 15, from Batang commune, were digging for precious stones when the 20-meter mining hole caved-in, trapping them beneath the surface.

“The hole collapsed due to heavy rain,” Mr. Phally said.

He said the victims’ families and neighbors were mining up to 10 different holes in the area and had dug out the bodies.

Despite the deaths, villagers in the area continued to mine for stones, even as authorities warned them to exercise caution.

“We have instructed people to stop digging mine holes for the moment because rain is still falling every day, but they are not worried,” he said.

A funeral ceremony for the two was held on the day of the collapse.

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