Eight primary school students drowned in a river in southwest China on Sunday, state media reported.

The schoolchildren in Chongqing Municipality were playing by the river when the incident happened, according to Xinhua News Agency. The bodies have been retrieved following a search operation.

During the games, one of the children fell in to the river in Tongjia village, Tongnan district of the municipality. Other students tried to rescue their mate but to no avail, and drowned.

The incident occurred around 3:30 p.m. local time (0730GMT). Further investigation is ongoing.

Drowning is a leading cause of injury death in children age 1-14 in China, according to the World Health Organization.

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.