Three maintenance workers died Wednesday while tending to the source of a popular hot spring, according to a local fire official.

Four workers — two from Senboku city and two contractors — were carrying out maintenance work when three of them collapsed.

The fourth made an emergency phone call.

When rescuers arrived, they found the three men in a hole about six feet deep, the official said. He said it was possible they died from hydrogen sulfide poisoning.

Hydrogen sulfide can poison the body if a person is exposed to more than 300 ppm of it.

The official did not immediately identify the workers.

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