A 38-year-old worker from Marsaxlokk has been found dead after an incident at the Wasteserv incinerator in Marsa, the police have confirmed. 

The man, named locally as Joseph Ellul, was found with lacerations to his throat at the entrance of an elevator near the abbatoir area at around 9am, according to sources close to the investigation. 

Police are at the scene interviewing anyone who had access to the building and investigations are ongoing to clarify what caused the incident.

Police spokesperson Brandon Pisani says investigations are ongoing.

According to his Facebook page, the victim was a SCADA operator, someone who operates a system of machines used to transfer or treat water or waste.

There were emotional scenes outside the building as members of his family arrived and later watched on as the hearse left the scene. 

Officials from the health and safety authority and the General Workers Union  also arrived on the scene. 

A spokesperson for the authority said when asked that seven workplace fatalities have been registered so far this year. There were nine such fatalities throughout the whole of 2021.

A magisterial inquiry is underway. 

By late morning, social media was flooded with tributes to the man, who had been working with Wasteserv for five years. 

The company changed its social media logos to black as a mark of respect.

"We note with deep regret that this morning a fatal accident occurred at our Thermal Treatment Facility in Marsa," it said in a post on Facebook.

"At the moment, all our thoughts and energy are with the victim’s relatives and friends, and his co-workers who together formed part of our family."

Among those who paid tribute was parliamentary secretary for fisheries and a Labour MP for the district, Alicia Bugeja Said. 

"Marsaxlokk is devastated by the loss of our friend, Joseph," she said. "A man full of energy and always ready for some good fishing."

Marsaxlokk council said the fishing had lost "one of its sons" while friends of the victim also shared their grief in posts on social media.

Former Labour MP Jean Claude Micallef said he had lost a childhood friend, who he had last spoken to on Saturday about his plans for the future with his partner, Bernice.

"The next chapters will be different from those plans but those we have written together will remain engraved in our minds and hearts," he said. 

The incident happened at the Thermal Treatment Facility, which consists of an incinerator that uses heat to process abattoir waste, clinical waste and other hazardous waste streams.

It also includes an autoclave plant that treats animal tissue waste prior to the incineration process, according to the Wasteserv website.

The autoclave, installed in 2015, is a pre-treatment facility that processes around 2,500 tonnes a year of animal tissue waste.

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