Three men died Wednesday while working at popular hot spring in northern Japan, possibly due to toxic gas poisoning, a local fire official said.
Two municipal workers from Senboku city in Akita prefecture and two contractors were at the snow-covered source of the volcanic hot spring to carry out maintenance, the official said.
"One of the city workers made an emergency call to report that the three others had collapsed," he said.
"The three people were pulled from a hole... roughly two meters (6 feet 6 inches) deep, possibly affected by hydrogen sulfide," he added.
Rescue workers who arrived at the scene said the three were in a "state of cardiopulmonary arrest" -- a term is used by first responders because only a doctor can certify death.
Volcanic Japan is dotted with hot springs, which make popular tourist spots in a country that enjoys bathing.