THREE children have died in the United States after climbing inside an unplugged chest freezer and becoming trapped, according to police.
The youngsters, aged one, four and six, were found not breathing outside a residence in Live Oak, Florida on Monday.
Emergency services responded to the scene and rushed the children to hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
The property where the tragedy occurred is occupied by the mother of one of the children and the grandmother of the two others.
The women – who were roommates – have been interviewed by the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office.
A preliminary investigation has revealed that the children were playing outside their home when "for unknown reasons they climbed inside" of a chest freezer, officials said.
The appliance had recently been brought to the house but was not yet plugged in or moved inside.
'No foul play'
One of the women inside the residence was watching the youngsters when she went to use the bathroom.
She could not find them upon her return so she woke up the other woman who was at home, sleeping ahead of a night shift at work.
Following a search of the house and a vacant property next-door, the adults opened the freezer and discovered the youngsters unresponsive inside.
The women immediately administered CPR and called 911.
Authorities inspected the freezer and found a hasp – a slotted hinged metal plate – had been installed on the lid, but there was no padlock attached to the appliance.
Detectives believe that when the children entered the freezer the lid closed and the hasp fell shut, trapping them inside.
The investigation is ongoing but police said foul play is not suspected.
The case will be forwarded to the Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office for review.
Florida's Department of Children and Families has also been notified.