An accident at a supermarket construction site The Italian city of Florence At least three workers were killed and two went missing on Friday, local officials said.

The accident occurred when a reinforced concrete beam fell on the slab of an already constructed building, which then collapsed. Local officials said rescue teams were searching for the missing and feared the death toll could rise.

Three other workers pulled from the collapsed building were taken to local hospitals and were later said to be in critical but not life-threatening condition. Eugenio Gianni, president of the Tuscany region, said there were about 50 people at the scene at the time of the accident, but only eight workers were reportedly involved in the fall.

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The supermarket under construction is part of Italy’s Eslonga chain.

Gianni told Italian TV SkyTg24 that the accident could have been even more tragic, as a school bus carrying children was passing near the scene at the time. He added that the tragedy “will make us all strongly determined to ensure that nothing like this happens again.”

Italian flag

The Italian flag is seen in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on November 25, 2016. (Photo by Louise Souza/Noor Photo via Getty Images)

Two street cleaners who arrived at the scene soon after the accident said they could hear the cries of the injured workers for help.

The building site has been cordoned off and investigators have officially taken over. Later on Friday, Florence’s public prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into “punishable destruction and manslaughter,” without naming suspects for now, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Italy’s three The largest union – CGIL, CISL and UIL – called a “general strike” in Tuscany after the accident to demand better safety measures.

“There will be no more deaths at work,” their joint statement said, condemning the rising number of accidents in Italian workplaces amid difficult and dangerous working conditions.

In 2021, the last year for which official figures from statistics agency Eurostat are available, there were 601 workplace deaths in Italy. It was the second-highest figure in the European Union that year, after France.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni X, earlier expressed her condolences on Twitter, and said she was following the developments “with trepidation”.

Eslonga president Marina Caprotti expressed her sadness at the accident and said the company would remain available to cooperate with magistrates to determine what caused the collapse.

Florence Mayor Dario Nardella declared a day of mourning in the city on Saturday.

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