Five workers die at a sewage plant in Italy

Rome: Five maintenance workers died on the Italian island of Sicily on May 6, the local mayor said, after reportedly breathing in poisonous gas in a sewage treatment plant.

The victims had been carrying out maintenance work at the plant when some of them started to feel ill, according to local media reports.

“Five workers have died and a sixth was intubated and taken to hospital,” said Mr Giovanni di Giacinto, mayor of Casteldaccia, near Palermo, Sicily’s cultural and economic capital.

Italy’s fire service said on X, formerly Twitter, that it recovered the six from the plant, but was only able to resuscitate one of them.

Mr Di Giacinto said the workers are believed to have breathed in hydrogen sulphide, a naturally occurring gas often associated with waste works, which is toxic at high concentrations.

High levels can cause breathing problems, convulsions, coma and death.

Fatal accidents in the workplace regularly make headlines in the Italian press, each time sparking a debate on risk prevention.

In February 2024, a concrete structure collapsed on the construction site of a supermarket in Florence killing five workers, while seven workers were killed in April in an explosion in a hydroelectric plant near Bologna.