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At least 3 dead and 4 missing in an explosion at hydroelectric plant near Bologna


MILAN (AP) — An explosion Tuesday at a decades-old hydroelectric plant in northern Italy killed at least three workers and injured five others, a regional fire chief said. At least four other people were missing.

The explosion at power company Enel's Bergi plant south of Bologna during maintenance work collapsed part of the nine-story underground structure, provoked a fire and caused flooding at depths of up to 60 meters (200 feet), regional fire chief Francesco Notaro told SKY TG24.

Search efforts were proceeding with care due to the risk of additional collapsing. Divers were aiding the search, which was expected to go through the night.

Video provided by firefighters showed smoke rising from underground at the lakeside power plant.

“This is a historic power plant for us,'' Marco Masinara, the mayor of the nearby town of Camugnano, told SKY. ”It has been managed by Enel for 50 years, providing jobs for many families. Until today, nothing ever happened. Today, a drama occurred. Our world collapsed."

He said three of the hospitalized were in serious condition, while the other two suffered lesser injuries.

The artificial Suviana Lake was formed by the construction of a dam from 1928-32 and located in a regional park at an altitude of 500 meters (1,640 feet) some 70 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Bologna.

Enel Green Power said in a statement that there was no damage to the dam. CEO Salvatore Bernabei traveled to the site to follow developments. The company expressed condolences to the victims and their families.

Premier Giorgia Meloni said she was following the “terrible” news and expressed solidarity with the victims and their families.