Two more members of the gang emerged from a manhole inside the bank that connects to an underground tunnel.
The robbers wrestled with the bank manager, who yelled “It’s a robbery” and held him and another staff member hostage as dozens of police officers surrounded the bank.
The bank manager was reportedly hit on the head with the butt of a gun and an employee managed to escape. No other staff were harmed.
Police surrounded the robbers who set off a fire extinguisher giving them time to escape back down the manhole.
Officers lost them in the maze of underground tunnels.
The robbers took 20 safe-deposit boxes, but it is not yet clear what they contained, Italian media reported.
Speaking to reporters outside the bank after the ordeal, the manager said: “They entered from the basement. There were three of us inside when I realised what was happening and shouted. There was a short scuffle but they did not beat me.”
Milan prosecutors have opened an investigation.
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