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Bloke crushed to death by 15,000 40kg cheese wheels that fell ‘like dominoes’

An elderly Italian man was crushed to death by a cascade of 40kg cheese wheels that fell from a high shelf "like dominoes".

Giacomo Chiapparini is believed to have been using a machine to rotate the Grana Padano wheels when 15,000 of them were jolted and a metal shelf collapsed before the produce started falling.

Firefighters were called to his farm in Lombardy, Italy, and after sorting through the cheese for nearly 12 hours discovered the father-of-two dead.

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The Mirror reported that nearly 120 rescuers joined the effort to find the 74-year-old cheesemaker.

One neighbour told Italian news outlet Il Giorno: “We heard like thunder and shortly after the firefighters arrived.”

Neighbour Milena added: “He was a hard worker, he built himself from scratch and already 20 years ago he had to suffer the tragedy of losing a child.

“From nothing he had built a large family-run business that exports throughout Italy where, in addition to cheese, there is also a butcher's shop.

"If there was a problem, together with his family she was always very supportive, he gave work to many people, he was a very generous person.”

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Bortolo Ghislotti, president of the local agricultural district, added the farmer’s family is now in a race against time to save the wheels of cheese and move them to a climate-controlled warehouse before they go to waste.

He added: “The family, his wife Angela and their two children cannot understand what happened.

“But now we are looking for some colleagues willing to keep all the forms , more than a thousand, which otherwise would have to be thrown away.”

Efforts to remove the remaining cheese are being hampered owing to fears more shelves could buckle and collapse at any moment.

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