Three die in water tank tragedy near Gunning

A neighbour called emergency services to the scene.

Police said a man was working in an empty inground cement water tank on the property when he "collapsed".

Another man, aged 68, and a 63-year-old woman jumped into the tank to try to help and also collapsed.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is one possible explanation, and there may have been a build up of fumes from a petrol-powered pump being used to clean out the tank.

Local police commander acting superintendent Andrew Koutsoufis said high levels of poisonous gas were in the water tank when police arrived and it appears to be a tragic accident.

Superintendent Koutsoufis said post-mortems would be needed to confirm the cause of death.

The bodies had to be left in the tank overnight because of fumes in the tank.

Deputy mayor and close family friend Kim Turner paid tribute to the couple. They were great community people, and the loss is insurmountable, not only in Gunning, but throughout the region.

"We are devastated. It is safe to say we are all in shock. So a lot of people are hurting at the moment", he said.

The triple tragedy occurred on a rural property just off the Hume Highway between Yass and Gunning, around 60kms north of Canberra, shortly before 6.30pm on Thursday.

Emergency service personnel worked long into the night attempting to pull the victims' bodies from the well.

Forensic officers established a crime scene, but the deaths were not being treated as suspicious.

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