A 74-year-old Italian man was killed in a freak accident when he was crushed by falling wheels of cheese. Giacomo Chiapparini was buried under thousands of Paremesan-style cheese wheels after the shelf they were sitting on broke, Lombardy region firefighter Antonion Dusi told AFP.
- One shelf breaking caused a serious disaster. Chiapparini was said to be checking the wheels for ripening at the time of the accident. At one point, one of the shelves collapsed, causing a domino effect. The 84-lb wheels tumbled to the ground and brought more down as they fell. Thousands of wheels fell in total, killing Chiapparini.
- It took more than 12 hours to find Chiapparini’s body. Because he became buried under the cheese, firefighters weren’t immediately able to locate him beneath the food products. In total, more than half a day was spent digging the man out. Each wheel had to be moved by hand due to the delicate nature of the accident.
- Nearby residents could hear the collapse as it happened. A local resident told Italian media that the falling cheese sounded “like thunder,” with some wheels falling more than 33 feet to the ground.
- The damage was estimated at $7.63 million. While clearly the biggest cost here is the loss of Giacomo Chiapparini’s life, there was also a monetary loss in the tragic accident. Wheels of Parmesan aren’t cheap, and the shelf collapse had a significant financial impact on the warehouse, which is located in Romano di Lombardia, close to Milan.
- Chiapparini will be missed by his friends, family, and neighbors. One of his neighbors described him as “very supportive… and generous” (per BBC News), adding that Chiapparini lost one of his children several decades ago.
- This isn’t the first cheese-related accident. In 2021, a man actually died from eating too much cheese. W.S. Fiddler passed away in 1913, with professionals claiming his cheese-heavy diet was the cause of his early passing at the age of 50.