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Five people dead in sewage treatment plant accident

07 May 2024

Five workers died following an accident at a sewage treatment plant in Sicily, Italy on 6 May. All five people are reported to have died from toxic gas poisoning at the sewage facility near Palermo. A sixth worker was found unconscious at the site and was rushed to hospital where they remain in a serious condition.

Image: Vigili del fuoco
Image: Vigili del fuoco

Emergency services were called to the site in Casteldaccia, around 12 miles (20km) outside of Palermo, in the early afternoon. Fire officials said that five bodies were recovered from the scene while one other was rushed to hospital. Another worker managed to escape unharmed and call  for help.

AMAP, the regional company which operates the treatment plant, has not released any details about what happened during the incident. In a statement, a company director expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

According to Italian media, the workers had been working inside a five metre square underground tank at the time of the accident. Their bodies were discovered without masks to protect them from toxic fumes. This raised concerns that poor safety protocols were being implemented across the facility.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni posted on social media to say that “full light must be shed on this tragedy”. The accident is the latest in a series of workplace fatalities that have occurred across Italy in recent months, including an explosion at a hydroelectric power near Bologna which killed seven people in April. The incidents have caused anger amongst workers and unions who have been calling for better safety conditions.

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