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Hydroelectric power plant explosion kills seven in Italy

10 April 2024

An explosion at a hydroelectric power plant in northern Italy killed seven people on 9 April. Another five people were rushed to hospital in serious conditions after the blast at the plant in Bargi near Bologna.

Image:  Vigili del Fuoco
Image: Vigili del Fuoco

The operator of the plant, Italian utility group Enel, expressed its condolences to all the victims and their families in a statement. It said it would continue to fully collaborate with the relevant authorities to ascertain the facts. The CEO of Enel Green Power, Salvatore Bernabei, immediately went to the site to personally coordinate company activities in conjunction with the competent authorities.

Enel said that prior to the incident, efficiency works were underway at the plant, which Enel Green Power entrusted in 2022 to three primary companies: Siemens, ABB and Voith. From what has been reported, Enel said the testing of the first generation group had already been completed in the past days and, at the time the accident occurred, the testing of the second group was underway.

The explosion originated in an area of the plant that is around 30m (100 feet) underwater on Lake Suviana, around 37 miles outside of Bologna. Local news reports have said a fire broke out when a turbine exploded at the facility. The fire service said that three contractors aged between 36 and 73 were confirmed to have died at the scene while four others were reported missing.

The missing individuals were expected to be found dead after rescuers said the area where the explosion occurred had been flooded following the blast. By 12 April, all four bodies of the missing had been recovered, bringing the final death toll to seven.

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