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Italian man crushed to death under falling Parmesan-style cheese wheels

An Italian farmer has reportedly been crushed to death under wheels of a Parmesan-style cheese.

Giacomo Chiapparini, 74, was buried when a shelf broke in his warehouse in the Lombardy region. According to AFP, the incident happened on Sunday.

The collapse is said to have started a domino-like effect, bringing down thousands of wheels of cheese. Each one is said to weigh around 40kg, or 84lb.

It took around 12 hours for authorities to discover Chiapparini’s body, said firefighter Antonion Dusi.

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Chiapparini was said to be using a machine to rotate and clean the wheels at the time. The cheese was thought to be at different stages of ripening.

The storehouse, which had been stocked with 25,000 cheese wheels, was left in shreds. According to the BBC, Some of the wheels reportedly fell about 10m (33ft) and a local resident told Italian media the collapse sounded “like thunder”.

It is thought the collapse caused €7m (£6m) of damage. Bortolo Ghislotti, president of the local agricultural district, suggested the machine could have malfunctioned.

He says Chiapparini’s family is now in a race against time to salvage the precious wheels of cheese. They will need to be transported to the climate-controlled warehouses of neighboring businesses before they spoil in the summer heat, reports the New York Post.

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“The family, his wife Angela and two children, cannot understand what happened,” Ghislotti said. “But now we are looking for some colleague willing to keep all the wheels… which otherwise would have to be thrown out.”

Chiapparini’s company is said to sit on more than 24 acres of land. This includes stables, warehouses, milking facilities and a ship.

He has been producing the grana padano cheese – which is similar to Parmesan – since 2006. In addition to his wife and children, Chiapparini is also survived by his young grandchildren.

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