Italian Man Crushed to Death by Thousands of Cheese Wheels
CNN reported that an Italian man lost his life after being crushed by thousands of Grana Padano cheese wheels. It’s a hard cheese comparable to Parmigiano Reggiano. The tragic incident occurred on a Sunday when Giacomo Chiapparini, a 75-year-old local cheesemaker was in his warehouse near the city of Bergamo tending to 15,000 cheese wheels that were aging. The mishap occurred as a shelving unit containing the cheese collapsed, triggering a chain reaction that toppled additional shelves along with a significant number of cheese wheels.
Typically, these warehouses are filled to capacity with cheese wheels, which mature over several months before reaching optimal quality. Reports from Il Giorno indicate that approximately 25,000 cheese wheels ended up falling and burying Chiapparini. Despite the efforts of emergency services throughout the night, the chances of locating him alive diminished as time passed, and his body was ultimately discovered on Monday.
The investigation continues
According to reports, the local authorities have initiated an investigation into the accident, aiming to uncover the factors that led to the shelf’s collapse and Chiapparini’s death. Meanwhile, neighboring cheese factories in Italy have united in a bid to salvage the fallen cheese wheels. The Italian publication Il Giorno highlighted on Monday the ongoing “race against time” to secure storage space for the cheese to prevent wastage.
They said that the financial impact of the incident is substantial, with estimated damages totaling €7 million which is around 7,671,895.00 U.S. dollars. The estimate also includes the destruction of the facility. Notably, in 2012, when the Emilia Romagna region endured a devastating earthquake, Chiapparini demonstrated his generosity by offering his facilities to colleagues who had lost their own cheese wheels due to the catastrophic natural disaster.
Founded in the late 1970s, Chiapparini’s factory produces approximately 15,000 wheels of Grana Padano cheese annually. The cheese is crafted using milk from cows raised on the factory premises. According to the company website, the aging process for this cheese ranges from 12 to 70 months.