Seven dead after explosion at 'green' hydroelectric plant

Hydroelectric centre at Bargi

 ROME – An explosion in the centre of a hydroelectric power station in Bargi, near Bologna, has left several people dead and others trapped underground with "not much hope" of finding them alive, emergency services said.

 At least seven people are feared dead, after three deaths were confirmed by rescue services, with four workers still missing and another five seriously injured. This makes it one of Italy's worst industrial accidents in recent years. 

 The spokesman for the firefighters on the scene, Luca Cari, said "we are not working with much hope of finding the missing alive." He added that "this is a very difficult situation" due to water from the lake now entering the lower levels of the plant, with 40 cm of water on the lower eigth floor where search teams are working. 

  The Enel Green Powerhydroelectric power station is located on the edge of the Suviana artifical dam, in the Bologna Appennines.

 It is believed a transformer connected to a turbine erupted at a depth of 30 M during maintenance work. The explosion occurred on the lower eighth floor while the ninth floor was subject to flooding from a burst turbine cooling pipe.

 Emergency services, including 12 fire brigade teams and divers, are searching up to 40 metres underground, with at least four people still missing. Three helicopters and six ambulances were also on the scene.

 Search and rescue efforts are ongoing, after continuing through Tuesday night. Multiple workers are trapped underground, several floors below the service. 

 Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, expressed his condolences in a telephone call with the President of the Emilia-Romagna region, Stefano Bonaccini, saying he hoped "full light would be shed on the dynamics of the accident."

 Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also expressed her "sympathy" on hearing of the "terrible accident" and praised the firefighters and rescuers who "promptly intervened." 

 The CGIL, Italy's largest trade union, announced that there would be a strike on Thursday in solidarity with the dead, missing and injured workers. This incident comes after numerous workers deaths at construction sites throughout Italy in 2024. 


Rescue services at the power station