Italian man crushed to death by falling cheese wheels

Dairy factory owner, 74, dies when shelves carrying 25,000 wheels of cheese collapse and bury him, authorities say.

The owner of a dairy factory near Bergamo in northern Italy has died when shelves carrying 25,000 wheels of cheese collapsed and buried him.

All night, rescue workers tried to save Giacomo Chiapparini, 74, from under the masses of hard Grana Padano cheese, each wheel weighing 40kg (88lb).

But help came too late for the cheesemaker, who was confirmed dead, a spokesman for the Bergamo fire brigade said on Monday morning after a 12-hour operation.

Chiapparini was working on Sunday evening in the warehouse of his dairy factory in the small town of Romano di Lombardia not far from Milan when one of the metal shelves on which the large cheese wheels were ripening collapsed.

This triggered a domino effect, and the shelves, reaching to the ceiling and stacked to the top with cheese, fell one after the other until they buried the man, the spokesman said.

Firefighters were not able to recover the body until Monday morning.

It is not clear how the first metal shelf collapsed although material fatigue or a technical fault are suspected to be the cause.

The factory reportedly produces about 50 wheels of Grana Padano a day, or more than 15,000 wheels a year.
Source: Aljazeera