NEW DELHI, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Four sanitation workers were killed due to suffocation while attempting to clean an underground pit meant for rainwater harvest in the Indian capital of New Delhi, police said Sunday.
The incident took place in south Delhi's Ghitorni area on Saturday.
"Yesterday five sanitation workers went down to clean an underground pit in a household but did not come out for long. However, they were later pulled out in an unconscious state by fire department personnel," a police official said. "Apparently it seems they have inhaled some toxic gas inside the tank."
Four of the workers were declared dead after they were removed to hospital. One workers is undergoing treatment at a hospital.
Police officials quoting locals said the tank was ostensibly meant to harvest rainwater. A probe has been ordered into the deaths, police said.
"The exact cause of death will be clear after the postmortem," the police officials said. "We are probing the possibility of a sewerage line also opening into the underground pit, which could possibly be the reason of presence of toxic gas in it."
Sanitation workers in India work under harsh conditions and lack proper equipment.