Europe's Cerberus heatwave claims first life as worker dies in 40C heat and British tourist faints at Colosseum

12 July 2023, 09:24 | Updated: 12 July 2023, 09:29

Scorching temperatures are sweeping Europe
Scorching temperatures are sweeping Europe. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Emma Soteriou

The fierce heatwave sweeping Europe has claimed its first life after a road worker collapsed and died from the sweltering conditions.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

A 44-year-old road sign worker collapsed while on the job in Lodi, southeast of Milan, on Tuesday as temperatures surpassed 40C.

He slumped to the ground in front of colleagues and was quickly rushed off to hospital where he later died, local media said.

His death is believed to have been linked to the extreme heat currently making its way across the continent.

"The climate is a cause of accident and also of death. This is a situation that could be repeated given the temperatures," said the general secretary of Fenealuil Milan-Cremona-Lodi-Pavia, Salvatore Cutaia.

He added: "There is the redundancy fund, the suspension of work and the precautions that can be put in the pipeline.

"But unfortunately these actions have not been put in place and we find ourselves once again having to mourn a 44-year-old worker who has only done his job.

"We must question ourselves seriously and heavily sanction the responsibilities of an avoidable death."

Read more: When is the 40 degree heatwave? Met Office forecast soaring temperatures

Read more: 'Cerberus' heatwave brings searing temperatures to Europe with Italy set to surpass highs of 45C

A man drinks water from a fountain
A man drinks water from a fountain. Picture: Getty
Tourists sips cold water as they shelter from a hot sunny afternoon near the Rome's Colosseum
Tourists sips cold water as they shelter from a hot sunny afternoon near the Rome's Colosseum. Picture: Alamy

An anticyclone - named Cerberus - has seen temperatures soar well above 40C in Italy, with Sicily and Sardinia still predicted to reach highs of 47-48C.

The record for the highest temperature in European history was previously broken in August 2021, when 48C was recorded in Floridia in Sicily.

A man sheltering himself from the sun
A man sheltering himself from the sun. Picture: Getty
People queue to fill bottle with water at a public tap
People queue to fill bottle with water at a public tap. Picture: Getty

Thousands of holidaymakers visiting the Mediterranean are now being warned to be extra careful in the dangerous heat.

British tourists are among those to have been struggling with the rising temperatures in Italy this week, particularly in Rome.

One visitor, who has not been named, collapsed in front of the Colosseum on Tuesday before being passed bottles of water by passersby.

Some people were seen turning to the trees for shade while others used their shirts as parasols.

A boy refreshes himself at the Piazza della Rotonda fountain in Rome
A boy refreshes himself at the Piazza della Rotonda fountain in Rome. Picture: Getty
Tourists use umbrellas to shelter from the sun
Tourists use umbrellas to shelter from the sun. Picture: Alamy

Prof Luca Mercalli, the president of the Italian Meteorological Society, said: "We know that there will be temperatures above 40C or 45C.

"We could get close to the record. Either way, the levels will be very high."

It is no coincidence that the anticyclone has been named after Cerberus, the three-headed dog from Greek mythology that guards the gates to the underworld.

"Metaphorically, the three heads indicate the three main climatic zones into which Italy will be divided," meteorologist Stefano Rossi told Italian outlet La Stampa.

A man refreshes at the Baroque-style fountain 'Fontana della barcaccia' at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome's Piazza di Spagna
A man refreshes at the Baroque-style fountain 'Fontana della barcaccia' at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome's Piazza di Spagna. Picture: Alamy

A heatwave is also sweeping across France, Germany, Spain, Poland and Greece at the moment.

Greece is expected to see highs of 44C this week, with culture minister Linda Mendoni vowing to introduce special precautionary measures to protect tourists.

Spain is also forecast to see temperatures soar above 44C while France is expected to reach 37C.

But in the UK more than a week of rain is still on the cards before the hot weather returns.

From July 25th to August 8th, temperatures are predicted to become "slightly above average" with indications of "increasingly settled weather".

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

The collision - involving two vehicles - happened on the A61 Barnsley Road between Staincross, Barnsley, and Newmillerdam, Wakefield

Six people - including two children - die after horror crash between car and motorbike

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses his VP Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris promises to do everything in her power to defeat Donald Trump after Joe Biden drops out of race

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden

Jill Biden breaks silence with short emotional tribute to husband Joe after he drops out of Presidential race

Starmer praises Joe Biden's 'remarkable career' as leaders react to president quitting  2024 US presidential race

Starmer praises Joe Biden's 'remarkable career' as leaders react to president quitting 2024 US presidential race

President Joe Biden has dropped out of the 2024 Presidential Race and has endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris as the Democratic Nominee.

Kamala Harris says she is running for President in first statement since Joe Biden's shock withdrawal

Joe Biden (l) and Kamala Harris (r)

As Joe Biden steps aside who replaces him as the Democrat candidate to take on Trump and what happens now?

Live
President Biden Addresses The Nation From The White House Oval Office

Joe Biden quits 2024 US election LIVE: President Biden backs VP Kamala Harris as Trump hits out at 'unfit' leader

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event yesterday

Donald Trump slams Joe Biden as ‘worst president in history’ and says Kamala Harris will be ‘easier to beat'

Read Joe Biden’s letter in full as he announces he’s dropping out of 2024 presidential race

Read Joe Biden’s letter in full as he announces he’s dropping out of 2024 US presidential race

Biden withdraws from US presidential race

Joe Biden has endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris as Democratic Presidential nominee

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses Kamala Harris - as Trump labels him 'unfit to serve'

Joe Biden quits 2024 US presidential race and endorses Kamala Harris - as Trump labels him 'unfit to serve'

The 152nd Open - Day Four

American Xander Schauffele crowned The 152nd Open Champion as he finishes -9 to win in Royal Troon

Breaking News

England beat the West Indies by 241 runs in second Test at Trent Bridge

It comes as a TikTok sleuth who joined the hunt for missing teen Jay Slater said he believes the 19-year-old remains trapped in a Tenerife ravine.

Jay Slater's family blast trolls over bogus leads following sightings on the ‘Eurostar’ and ‘watching the Euros’

Four men found dead in car following horror collision with tree

Four men found dead in car following horror collision with tree

The M25 motorway closures are to set to cause travel chaos

Motorway misery: M25, M4 and M1 closures set to disrupt drivers this week – find out if you’re affected