Taranto

Search for missing ILVA worker suspended

Darkness and dangerous weather obstacles to divers' work

Search for missing ILVA worker suspended

Taranto, November 28 - Rescue divers have stopped searching for a 29-year-old employee of the ILVA steel plant who fell into the company harbor after a small tornado hit earlier in the day. As dusk settled, port authorities decided to call off the search for the man until Thursday, as darkness and poor weather conditions made the search too dangerous. Earlier Wednesday the head of Taranto's civil protection unit said that ILVA production sites, which were battered by heavy storms earlier in the day, were secure. The troubled ILVA plant is at the center of a legal-political dispute which could lead to its permanent closing. On Tuesday, Environment Minister Corrado Clini said that the government was ready to take on prosecutors in order to keep the steel plant open. ILVA said Monday's court order for the seizure of steel and semi-finished products as part of a corruption probe that saw seven top managers arrested would lead to the "almost immediate" closure of the plant. The company said operations in other parts of Italy would be shut down too as a result. The Taranto plant's furnaces were placed under special administration in July following accusations emissions from them caused abnormally high levels of tumors and respiratory diseases in the Taranto area. ILVA and the government have been trying to keep the plant in operation while remediation measures necessary for ILVA to obtain environmental authorization (AIA) are carried out.

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