Seven people died of asphyxiation on Friday night while cleaning a hotel’s septic tank in Fartikui village of Gujarat’s Dabhoi taluka in Vadodara district, The Times of India reported. The hotel owner, who has been booked for causing death due to negligence, is absconding.

Four sanitation workers – Mahesh Patanwadiya, Ashok Harijan, Brijesh Harijan, Mahesh Harijan – were called in to clean the tank. Vijay Chaudhary, Sahdev Vasava, and Ajay Vasava were the hotel’s employees who were assisting them in the clean-up.

Patanwadiya was the first to enter the tank but after he stopped responding, Ashok Harijan, Brijesh Harijan, and Mahesh Harijan followed to help him. Later, when the four did not come out, the other three went in but fell unconscious inside the tank.

“All seven were dead as the pressure of the gas was high in the tank, but we could bring their bodies out,” The Times of India quoted fire officer Nikunj Azad as saying. After the bodies were removed, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation used a suction tank vehicle to clean the tank in order to establish there weren’t any more bodies inside.

Dabhoi police and officials from the fire department rushed to recover the bodies from the tank. “We are investigating what was the exact gas they inhaled and what exactly happened,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police (Dabhoi division) Kalpesh Solanki, according to The Indian Express.

The bodies of the deceased were handed over to the families after a postmortem examination. Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Shailesh Mehta, who represents the Dabhoi Assembly constituency, said that the four sanitation workers were from Thuvavi village. He said that it shows disregard for the safety of the sewage workers, PTI reported.

The Gujarat government has declared that the families of the deceased will receive Rs 4 lakh each. The government has also instructed the police to take stringent action against the owner of the hotel.