Death toll from Italy energy plant blast rises to six

Death toll from Italy energy plant blast rises to six
Death toll from Italy energy plant blast rises to six

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Firefighters work at the site after a blast at a hydroelectric power plant in Bargi, Italy, April 9, 2024. — Reuters pic/Vigili del Fuoco handout

ROME, April 12 — The death toll from a hydroelectric plant blast in Italy rose to six yesterday, as rescuers found another three bodies, with one worker still missing, according to the fire service.

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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.

Around 100 firefighters, including 12 divers, remained on site on Thursday, fire service spokesman Luca Cari told AFP.

He confirmed that two bodies had been found on Thursday, while later in the day news agency Ansa said a third had been recovered.

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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.

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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.

As of the end of 2021, Italy had 4,646 hydroelectric plants, mainly in the country’s north, which represent more than 14 per cent of national power consumption. — AFP

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