Italian man crushed to death by thousands of falling cheese wheels

The 74-year-old was buried under the vast cheeses, which weigh about 40kg each, when a shelf broke at a warehouse near Bergamo

The victim died after thousands of wheels of Grana Padano cheese collapsed on to him. Photo: Farah Andrews / The National
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An Italian man has been crushed to death under thousands of vast wheels of a Parmesan-style hard cheese, which weigh about 40kg each, firefighters said on Monday.

Giacomo Chiapparini, 74, was buried under the cheeses when a shelf broke in his warehouse in the northern Lombardy region on Sunday, creating a domino effect which brought down thousands of wheels, firefighter Antonio Dusi said.

Rescuers “had to move the cheeses and the shelves by hand,” Mr Dusi said, adding that it “took about 12 hours” to finally find Mr Chiapparini.

The warehouse, located in the small town of Romano di Lombardia near Bergamo, contained a total of 25,000 wheels of Grana Padano, a hard cheese which resembles Parmesan and is very popular in Italy.

Mr Chiapparini had been checking on the ripening wheels, which were stored on metal shelves up to 10 metres high.

Updated: August 07, 2023, 1:42 PM