Eight Indian tourists, including four minors, from Kerala died in Nepal after they fell unconscious due to a suspected gas leak from a heater in their room at a resort in Makwanpur district, PTI reported on Tuesday. They were part of a group of 15 tourists.

The tourists were pronounced dead on arrival after they were airlifted to HAMS hospital in Kathmandu, Superintendent of Police Sushil Singh Rathaur said. Makwanpur police said the tourists might have fallen unconscious due to asphyxiation.

“We condole the tragic death of eight Indian nationals from state of Kerala in Daman, Makwanpur district of Nepal,” the Indian Embassy in Nepal tweeted. “We are in touch with their family/friends in India. Mission is extending all necessary assistance.”

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said he was “deeply distressed” by the incident. He said the Indian embassy was closely following the situation. “Embassy officials are stationed at the hospital and are providing necessary assistance,” he said. “Our thoughts are with the bereaved families.”

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled the deaths and wrote to Jaishankar, seeking his intervention to help the friends and families of the deceased. “On the directions of the chief minister, officials have taken steps to expedite procedures for the repatriation of the mortal remains of the victims,” Vijayan’s office said.

Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said the government had ordered Director General of Police Lokanath Behera to get in touch with the Nepal police and take necessary steps. Surendran added that he had also spoken to Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan over the phone.

Muraleedharan told PTI: “We are in regular touch with the Indian embassy in Kathmandu.”

The victims were identified as Praveen Krishnan Nair, Saranya Sasi, Sreebhadra Praveen, Aarcha Praveen, Abhinav Saranya Nair, Ranjith Kumar Adatholath Punathil, Indu Lakshmi Peethambaran Ragalatha and Vyshnav Ranjith.

The two couples and their four children were part of a group of 15 people travelling from Kerala to Pokhara, a popular tourist destination in Nepal. They stayed at Everest Panorama Resort in Makawanpur district on Monday night.

“Although they had booked a total of four rooms, eight of them stayed in a room and remaining others in another room,” the manager of the resort told PTI, adding that the windows and the door of the room were locked from inside. The manager added that the group turned on the gas heater after entering the accommodation, The Indian Express reported. The police suspect they might have fallen unconscious due to lack of ventilation.