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Workers die of asphyxia under thousands of tons of flour

Two men were suffocated on Saturday after tons of flour fell on top of them during what should have been a “routine cleaning exercise”.

The men, aged 58 and 37, were working in a cereal silo at the Tangol biodiesel manufacturing plant in Pragal, Almada. According to reports, rapeseed stuck to the walls of the silo suddenly engulfed them, leaving the men under two metres of thick flour.

Rescue workers took “more than 15 minutes” to ensure enough safety to allow them to work. Thus the men stood no chance. Their bodies were finally removed from the silo after three hours of excavations. A spokesperson for the plant owners, the Sovena group, has said an inquiry into what went wrong has been opened, while support is being given to the families affected by the tragedy.