Hopes fading for four missing after deadly blast at Italian hydroelectric plant

10 April 2024, 13:24

Italian police at the scene of the explosion
ADDITION Italy Explosion. Picture: PA

The blast at energy company Enel Green Power’s Bargi plant happened during maintenance work.

Search and rescue operations are continuing at a hydroelectric plant close to the northern Italian city of Bologna a day after a devastating blast killed at least three workers, injured five and left four missing.

“We are working, but with a few hopes of finding missing people alive,” said Luca Cari, a spokesperson for Italian firefighters.

“We are working in very complex and difficult conditions. The floor hit by the explosion was dry and now has 50 centimetres of water.”

The massive explosion on Tuesday rocked the plant at about 40 metres below the water level, causing flooding and the collapse of part of the nine-storey underground structure.

Firefighters work at the scene of the explosion at the Enel Green Power hydroelectric plant
Firefighters work at the scene of the explosion at the Enel Green Power hydroelectric plant (Antonio Calanni/AP)

The blast at energy company Enel Green Power’s Bargi plant happened during maintenance work.

A fire broke out when a turbine exploded on the eighth floor below the surface, flooding the floor below, Bologna prefect Attilio Visconti said.

According to the first reconstructions of the accident by witnesses and survivors, the blast happened during a testing operation that involved about 15 workers, almost all employees of three external companies hired by Enel.

Local prosecutors were expected to launch an investigation.

The Enel Green Power hydroelectric plant
The Enel Green Power hydroelectric plant (Antonio Calanni/AP)

Marco Masinara, the mayor of the nearby town of Camugnano, said the structure was “a historic power plant for us”, providing jobs for many families.

“Today, a drama occurred. Our world collapsed,” he said on Tuesday, adding that three of the injured were in a serious condition.

The artificial Suviana Lake was formed by the construction of a dam from 1928-32 and is located in a regional park. Enel Green Power said in a statement on Tuesday there was no damage to the dam.

By Press Association

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