Two men died from smoke inhalation on Tuesday night while attempting to extract gold from a mine in Kratie province, police said on Thursday.
Bun Chhoeun, Sambor district police chief, said the two men died in the pit of a roughly 8 meter- deep hole—near a larger mine that had laid dormant for more than a year after a Chinese company stopped operating—after inhaling smoke emanating from machinery inside the mine.
“When they went down, they were poisoned with the smoke in the hole,” Mr. Chhoeun said, adding that the bodies were retrieved by locals at about 4 a.m. the next morning following unsuccessful rescue attempts throughout the night.
He named the two victims as Khon Nak, 30, from nearby Chet Borie district, and Chim Kimyuth, 27, from Kompong Thom province.
The mine and surrounding area in Kbal Damrei commune is popular with small-scale miners, he said.
“In general, people in that area don’t have a license,” he added.