A fisheries employee in Kratie province was found dead on Monday after going missing during a Sunday night storm, local officials said.
The body of Le Sokleng, a 32-year-old river guard of the provincial Fisheries Administration (FA), was discovered at about 7am yesterday, 10 kilometres from the Kampi resort where endangered fresh water dolphins are found.
“His boat capsized on Sunday night, and on Monday we didn’t know whether he was still alive,” said Un Chakrey, an official at the World Wildlife Foundation who worked closely with Sokleng.
Chakrey noted that there were three guards on board the capsized vessel, two of whom survived by hanging onto the side of the boat.
Contacted yesterday, Mok Ponlouk, deputy chief of the provincial FA, said he was transporting Sokleng’s body to his hometown in the Khsach Kandal district of Kandal province.
According to Ponlouk, Sokleng and his crew went out in four fishing boats, but eventually divided into two teams with two boats each. At about 11pm, Sokleng told the other guards to go back to their post as it was starting to storm.
“On the way back, he approached a small island called Prea and stopped, hoping the storm would go away,” said Ponlouk, repeating the accounts of the survivors on Sokleng’s boat. “But the waves hit his boat three times and it sank.”
In a statement yesterday, WWF said it regarded Sokleng, an employee of the FA since 2014, as a hero who protected the Mekong dolphins.
“He was very tied to his work and people in the community liked him,” Ponlouk said.