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Bodies of Drown Singaporean Boat Racers Repatriated

The bodies of five drown Singaporean boat racers were sent home Monday, following a boat accident Friday that cast a pall over the annual Water Festival.

A boat of 22 Singaporeans capsized in the strong currents of the Tonle Sap River, following an exhaustive race. The bodies were recovered Sunday "one by one" about 2 kilometers downstream, said Nhim Vanda, first vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management.

The body of a Cambodian, Touch Vorn, 38, a racer from Kampong Cham, was also found, Nhim Vanda said.

The accident was the worst in the history of the annual races. This year's festival had competitive racers from eight other Asean nations, among 440 boats.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Monday the government had committed a plane to return the bodies of the Singaporeans, and that the water currents would be studied ahead of next year's festival in the hope future accidents can be prevented.

It was possible the five Singaporeans who drowned did not know how to swim, he added.