Rome: Four Indian-origin Sikh men drowned in a sewage tank on a cattle farm in northern Italy due to the carbon dioxide fumes coming out from cow manure, local media reported.
The incident happened at a cattle farm in Arena Po near Pavia, a city in south Milan on Thursday. Out of the deceased, two were brothers – Prem, 48, and Tarsem Singh, 45. They were running the farm.
The other two were workers, identified as Arminder Singh, 29, and Manjinder Singh, 28.
Initial investigations reveal that the three men jumped to rescue a worker who was emptying the tank. It is suspected that the four died due to the carbon dioxide fumes coming out from cows manure.
It was the victims' wives who raised the alarm after the men failed to turn up for lunch. They rushed to the scene and spotted one body in the sewage.
The women then called in the firefighters, who donned masks and emptied the tank to recover all the bodies, the report said.
Registered in 2017, Prem and Singh's farm was reportedly one of the biggest in the Pavia region. It produced milk and veal cattle.
The Italian Agriculture Minister Teresa Bellanova in a tweet condoled the deaths, saying "safety at work is an inalienable right and we must make every effort to ensure it is respected". She was a farm labourer herself as a teenager.
The incident brings the death toll on work-related accidents in Italy to 486, the highest since 2016.
(With inputs from PTI)