After the ceremony they went back to their village but as they walked along a hillside path, one of their party, Mr Amphone, stumbled and rolled down the mountain to his death.
The village security guard Mr Singphone ran to fetch a gun from his house and fired it into the sky to inform the other villagers that something grave had happened.
Unfortunately the gunfire brought down the 22kV electricity cable overhead, causing it to hit the ground where a group of villagers was standing. Another nine people, eight of them children, were killed after being electrocuted, including the owner of the gun.
The nine people who died were Mr Singphone, 42, his son Boun aged 16, Ms Pheng aged 14; Ms Chan aged 7, Mr Manh aged 9, Ms Bong aged 13, Ms Van aged 9, Mr Chan aged 17, and Ms Vone aged 15. They were all from Natang village.
Director of the Huaphan provincial Department of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Khamla Bounmixay, told Vientiane Times yesterday these people moved to the new village about 2 or 3 years ago so they could be closer to the main road, but they had yet to organise a ceremony to relocate the spirits of their former village.
He explained that according to local custom, when anything bad happened the villagers would fire guns into the sky to inform others, who would then come running.
“The village security guard Mr Singphone died after trying to pull the live cable away, but it electrocuted him as well,” Mr Khamla said.
“This is the worst incident of its kind in the province. We've had electrocutions before but on those occasions only one or two people were killed.”
Mr Khamla said electricity was installed in the village a year ago as part of efforts to improve people's living conditions.
(Latest Update May 16, 2012)