Three men were confirmed dead while trying to look for gold at the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) in Karnataka’s Kolar district, police said on Thursday.
Ramdas, a sub-inspector of Marikuppam police station, said two others have been detained.
Ramdas said five men from the Bishop Doddi locality of Andersonpet—Padiyappa, Joseph, Kanda, Victor and Karthik—had gone to an abandoned shaft to steal gold ore on Wednesday night.
But since it was dark and some of the planks near the shaft had become weak due to lack of maintenance and exposure to weather, Joseph, Kanda and Padiyappa plunged to their death after falling around 1,000 feet.
Ramdas said they might have become weak due to inhalation also of some of the poisonous gases which could have accumulated in these abandoned shafts.
Victor and Karthik managed to escape and alerted some of the nearby residents who in turn informed the police.
Police along with the fire department recovered the bodies of Joseph and Kanda on Thursday while that of Santhosh alias Padiyappa is yet to be found.
Both the bodies have been sent to the district government hospital for post-mortem examination.
Victor and Karthik have been detained for further investigation.
Once one of India’s richest gold mines, all mining activity has been abandoned in KGF since 2001 due to the low gold content which meant the price of extracting it from the ground was not profitable.