Thane (Maharashtra): At least five people died due to suffocation in a well in Maharashtra’s Thane on Thursday. The deceased also include two fire department officials and trustees who had gone to rescue a labourer into the well. Four bodies have so far been recovered and the rescue operation is underway. Also Read - Coronavirus in Maharashtra: Number of Cases Reaches 320, Toll 12

The officials believe that the men died due to the poisonous fumes which got collected since the well was closed for many days. “A labourer entered well to clean it and died due to suffocation. 2 trustees who went in to rescue the labourer also died inside. Two fire dept officials who had gone into well also died during the rescue operation,” Additional CP Pratap Dighavkar said. Also Read - COVID-19: Mumbai's Vacant Properties Will be Used as Quarantine Centres, Says BMC in Fresh Circular 

He added: “Four bodies taken out. Rescue op on. For chemical analysis, sample of water collected from well. We’ve taken a sample from a nearby gutter as well which may have sulphur content. Prima facie, it appears gas collected in the well as it was closed since many days.” Also Read - BMC Circular, Directing That Bodies of COVID-19 Patients Only be Cremated, Withdrawn

The incident has been reported a few days after three labourers engaged in cleaning a manhole in an industrial area in Maharashtra’s Thane district Friday died possibly after inhaling poisonous fumes. The incident happened in the MIDC area of Dombivli in the evening and the Kalyan-Dombivli fire brigade was summoned at around 4:15 PM, an official said.

Fire Officer Suresh Shinde of the Dombivli MIDC fire station told PTI that the deceased were part of a team of contract workers who were engaged in cleaning drains in the industrial area. The three entered the manhole one after the other in a space of few minutes and choked to death, he said.