Police in Quang Nam Province's Phuoc Son District are investigating the deaths of three workers at an illegal gold mine on April 8, a day after the mine was closed by local rangers.
Initial police reports said that the three men, all from Thai Nguyen Province in the north, died of suffocation while digging for gold for a man identified only as Tien at a deep mine pit in Phuoc Hoa Commune.
Two of the three dead men were identified only as Thanh and Tuyen.
They were 120 meters underground when the machine that drives the noxious gases out of the mine suddenly broke down, according to a Tuoi Tre report.
Senior Lieutenant Colonel Ngo Van Nghia, deputy head of the Phuoc Son police department, said the incident reportedly happened Monday (April 8) but police received notifications from locals the next day. The gold mine's owner did not report the case to local authorities and brought the dead miners to their hometown for burials.
Police have not said whether or not the mine's owner had paid any compensation for the dead employees.
Tran Lanh, head of Phuoc Son forest management, said this specific gold field was a "hot spot of illegal gold exploration," adding that local authorities have many times cast illegal gold miners out and destroyed their tents and equipment but failed to stop them.
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