Death toll from Italy energy plant blast rises to five

The turbine exploded on the eighth floor below water and injured five people; the cause remained unknown


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Published: Thu 11 Apr 2024, 5:59 PM

Last updated: Thu 11 Apr 2024, 6:00 PM

The death toll from a hydroelectric plant blast in Italy rose to five on Thursday, as rescuers found another two bodies, with two workers still missing, according to the fire service.

Emergency services have been working their way down nearly a dozen floors below water level since the blast on Tuesday at Enel Green Power's (EGP) Bargi plant on Lake Suviana near Bologna.

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Around 100 firefighters, including 12 divers, remained on site Thursday, fire service spokesman Luca Cari told AFP. He also confirmed the updated death toll.

The turbine exploded on the eighth floor below water and injured five people, Bologna's prefect Attilio Visconti said on Wednesday.

The cause remains undetermined; however, Visconti confirmed flooding on the ninth floor due to a turbine cooling pipe brought in several metres of water.

The incident has raised fresh questions about workplace accidents in Italy. Five people died after a building collapsed at a Florence construction site in February and five maintenance workers were killed by a train last August.

EGP, the renewables unit of energy giant Enel, has pledged its full cooperation with authorities in establishing the cause of the "serious accident".

The firm on Wednesday announced a two-million-euro fund for the urgent needs of victims and their families.

It had previously said that "efficiency works" were underway at the time of the blast, being carried out by three subcontractors.

"There was no safety problem, it was an intervention planned since September 2022," EGP head Salvatore Bernabei told Italian media.

He said it was "a normal technological update that is done in power plants".

Prosecutors in Bologna are investigating.


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