Freak Winemaking Accident Kills 4 Family Members

A father, son, and pair of brothers were overcome by carbon dioxide in Italy
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2021 4:37 PM CDT
Freak Winemaking Accident Kills 4 Members of Family
File image of barrels of wine.   (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Four men from the same family all died in a freak winemaking accident in Paola, Italy, Saturday as one went in after another trying to save each other. The men had gathered to transfer vats of grape juice fermenting into oak barrels. The fermentation process produces a lot of carbon dioxide, and the process was underway in a shed with little ventilation, the Telegraph reports. Once levels of the colorless, odorless, tasteless gas reach 10%, people can pass out pretty quickly, and if nobody is there to get them to safety, they can asphyxiate. Police are investigating what happened, but their working theory is that either Santino Carnevale, 70, or relative Giacomo Scofano, 70, went to stir the fermenting wine. Then the other one of the two went to check on him.

Then, Santino's 45-year-old son, Massimo Carnevale, and Valerio Scofano, 50, Giacomo’s younger brother, followed to lend assistance and were also overcome by fumes. A woman, believed to be a daughter-in-law of one of the older men, was found passed out at the entrance to the shed, but family members were able to revive her. When police arrived, there was a little ruckus between the family and reporters who followed ambulances to the scene, possibly because Valerio was supposed to be on house arrest instead of with the family. The woman was taken to a local hospital. The local prosecutor says there will be an inquiry, but foul play is not suspected, reports the Daily Beast. (More weird news stories.)

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