Second marble coffin niche structure collapses in Italy

From the website of The Guardian newspaper on 18 October

This was the scene of the collapsed burial niches shown in a photograph by Ciro Fusco/EPA on the website of The Guardian newspaper on 18 October.

The collapse of a second multi-storey marble coffin niche structure at a cemetery in Italy has raised questions about the construction and maintenance of the structures.

Coffins containing human remains were left hanging in the air after the collapse in the Poggioreale cemetery in Naples. The collapse happened on Monday (17 October) in the afternoon.

Fortunately, the cemetery had been closed for the day and no-one was hurt. The cemetery remained closed on Tuesday, 18 October, to allow for the collapse to be dealt with.

The story appeared on the website of The Guardian newspaper, where it was reported that this was the second such incident at the cemetery this year.

Authorities sealed off the Poggioreale cemetery – the largest in Naples – as an investigation into the collapse of the marble building, called 'The Resurrection', got under way.

The Guardian quoted Vincenzo Santagada, a Naples councillor with responsibility for cemeteries, as saying: “The collapse was preceded by a bang and a dense cloud of dust. As an administration we are taking care of all the necessary formalities.”

In January some 300 burial niches were destroyed when another marble structure in another part of the same cemetery in southern Italy collapsed.

Families of the dead held a protest on Tuesday.

Politicians in Campania, the region of southern Italy of which Naples is the capital, say the city’s cemeteries have not been looked after for years. Francesco Emilio Borelli, a regional councillor for the Green Europe party, wrote on Facebook: “This is a critical and unacceptable situation. For too many years cemeteries in Naples have been badly managed and left to fend for themselves, falling prey to swindlers and profiteers.”

In February last year 200 coffins fell into the sea in Camogli in northern Italy after parts of a cemetery collapsed in a landslide that also caused two chapels to collapse.