THREE gold mine workers died from suffocation after they were trapped inside a small-scale mining sinkhole in the gold rich town of Aroroy, Masbate on Friday.

Trapped inside the mine pit were Wilson Petiros, 40, and Jorly Cedillo, 28, both from Barangay Panique in Aroroy.

Another miner, Francisco Bangalisan, 23, of Sitio Bagong Sirang of the same village did not reach the hospital alive because of a poisonous substance he apparently inhaled inside the sinkhole.

Philippine National Police (PNP) regional spokesperson Malu Calubaquib said Petiros and Cedillo entered the mining sinkhole early on Friday morning to dig ore-bearing soil.

At about 2:30 p.m., the two were reported trapped inside the sinkhole, which prompted Bangalisan to check and try to rescue them. However, upon entering the pit he fell unconscious after inhaling an undetermined poisonous substance.

The mining sinkhole located in the village of Capsay is reportedly owned by Rosebelle Rabosa.

Illegal small-scale mining operations in Capsay village continue to thrive with impunity allegedly with the collusion of local officials.

Police have attributed some of the reported crime incidents in the past to the mining activities in Aroroy town.