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Search Continues for Missing in Italy After Deadly Hydroelectric Plant Explosion

At least three people have been reported dead and five more injured following an explosion at a hydroelectric plant in northern Italy, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday, noting that at least four others remain missing in the accident in the latest update.  

“We are working, but with a few hopes of finding missing people alive,” a firefighter spokesperson told AP on Wednesday, adding that. “We are working in very complex and difficult conditions. The floor hit by the explosion was dry and now has 50 centimeters (19 inches) of water.”

The explosion took place after the collapse of the underground structure during maintenance work on Italian utility giant Enel’s Bargi plant, south of the city of Bologna. The hydroelectric facility is an aging, massive, nine-story underground behemoth, and collapse of the structure led to a fire and flooding, AP reported, citing the local media.   

“With reference to the serious accident that occurred at the Bargi power plant near Bologna, Italy, Enel Green Power once again expresses its deepest condolences and closeness to all the victims and their families,” Enel said in a statement, noting that Enel Green Power CEO Salvatore Bernabei visited the site of the disaster to personally coordinate with the authorities. 

According to Enel, maintenance testing for a second electricity generation group was underway when the structure collapsed. There was no damage to the dam, according to Enel.  

At the time of writing, the search effort for those reported missing was still underway. According to Italy’s SKY news, three of those injured remain in serious condition. 

The deadly explosion highlights an increasingly sensitive worker safety issue in Italy, prompting two of the biggest trade unions to announce a four-hour nationwide strike for Thursday, AP reports. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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