Winemaker is found dead face down in a vat of Prosecco after passing out from toxic fumes as he rescued a workmate who had fallen in
- Marco Bettolini was reportedly found dead at the bottom of the tank of Prosecco
A winemaker has been found dead face down in a huge vat of Prosecco when he passed out from toxic fermentation gas after rescuing a workmate who had fallen ill.
Heroic Marco Bettolini leapt into the tank when he saw co-worker Alberto Pin had fainted at the Ca’ di Rajo winery in the Province of Treviso, in the Italian region Veneto, on Thursday last week.
But Mr Bettolini was also quickly overcome by the same fumes and collapsed in the tank after rescuing his pal, local media reported.
Both winemakers fell into the vat but only Mr Bettolini died. He was reportedly found dead at the bottom of the tank of Prosecco while Mr Pin was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Toxic fumes like carbon monoxide and nitrogen produced during winemaking can be deadly in enclosed spaces, especially when produced in large quantities.
Neither man, it emerged, had been wearing an oxygen tank and respirator as the time of the incident.
Accident investigators believe Pin had entered the tank when he spotted a fault in one of the tank’s meters.
An autopsy is set to determine whether Bettollini died from drowning or asphyxiation.
Wineries generally have necessary ventilation systems that allow the toxic air to escape and prevent any serious incidents.
Chief Prosecutor Marco Martani said: ‘From the information gathered so far by the police, no one should have entered that vat, as maintenance work is entrusted to an external specialised company equipped with masks and systems that would have prevented the risk of intoxication.’
The winery’s owner, Simone Cecchetto, expressed their condolences, adding: ‘We are devastated by grief; for us, they are like two brothers, two sons.
‘My thoughts are only with these young men who grew up with us and their families. We pray that Alberto recovers as soon as possible.’
Pin remains in hospital in an intensive care unit.
The investigation is ongoing. The local Health Authority is also examining the case.
Italy‘s workers unions have long been questioning safety standards in the food and drink production industry.
It comes after the boss of an Italian cheesemaking company was last month crushed to death when 15,000 wheels of cheese buried him in his own factory.
Giacomo Chiapparini, 74, was tragically found dead by firefighters after a shelf broke in his factory in the northern Lombardy region in early August and caused a deadly domino effect that brought down a total of 15,000 wheels of Grana Padano.
The wheels of Grana Padano cheese, which is very similar to Parmigiano Reggiano, can each weigh up to 40 kg.