A winemaker has been found dead face down in a huge vat of prosecco after he passed out from toxic fumes as he rescued a workmate who had collapsed inside it.
Heroic Marco Bettolini leapt into the tank when he saw co-worker Alberto Pin had fainted at the Ca’ di Rajo winery, in San Polo di Piave, in the Province of Treviso, in the Italian region Veneto, on 14th September.
But he was apparently quickly overcome by the same fumes and collapsed in the tank after rescuing his pal, according to local media.
Pin, 31, survived the toxic ordeal but 46-year-old Bettolini was reportedly found dead at the bottom of the tank of prosecco, a speciality of the winery.
Toxic fumes like carbon monoxide and nitrogen produced during winemaking can be deadly in enclosed spaces.
Neither man, it emerged, had been wearing an oxygen tank and respirator.
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.
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.