Poisonous fumes in a water tank have killed three people on an Australian farm

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Three members of a single family have died in a tragic accident on a farm in southern New South Wales.

Police say emergency services were called to a property in Gunning, 70km north of Canberra, around 6.20pm on Thursday.

It’s believed that after 69-year-old man collapsed while working in an empty in ground cement water tank, his bother, 68, and wife, 63, went to his aid in the tank and also collapsed.

However, it’s believed the woman’s cries for help were heard by a neighbour, who went to investigate, found them in the tank and called emergency services.

They were confirmed as dead at the scene.

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.

“We are not treating their deaths as suspicious,” he said.

“Police are following a number of lines of inquiry, including whether the trio were overcome by fumes.”

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.

But the incident had hit the town hard.

“There has a wide-ranging impact when heartbreaking events such as this occur in rural towns,” Koutsoufis said

Post-mortems will confirm the cause of death and police will prepare a report for the coroner.

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