Crater of Vesuvius as seen from plane

American tourist falls into Mount Vesuvius crater

By Region News Southern Italy

An American tourist sustained minor injuries after he fell into the crater of Mount Vesuvius. The man had been taking a selfie, dropping his phone as he did so. He fell several metres as he scrambled to retrieve his phone.

Bypassing the official visitor turnstile and following a path labelled as dangerous and out-of-bounds, the 23-year-old and his family reached the 1,281m-high summit of the volcano.

According to local press, as the man was taking a selfie on the edge of the crater, his phone slipped from his hands. The tourist then descended into the crater in an attempt to get his phone back. In doing so, he lost his footing and fell several metres.

Rescued and cited

Vesuvius guides were first on the scene and abseiled into the crater to pull him out. Police also attended, with a mountain rescue helicopter launched to assist the rescue operation.

Fortunately, the man received only minor injuries. He was treated for cuts and bruises on his arms and back.

The police have cited the group for invasion of public land. The group, which reportedly ventured to the volcano without any tickets, took a path that was clearly signposted as being forbidden due to being extremely dangerous.

Not the first such incident

In September 2017, an 11-year-old boy and his parents died after falling into the crater of Solfatara di Pozzuoli. This is one of 40 volcanoes in the Campi Flegrei area west of Naples. The boy was believed to have fainted due to gas fumes before falling into the crater. His parents tried to save him but the crater collapsed.

READ: Last eruption of Vesuvius

Vesuvius is still classed as an active volcano and is the only European mainland volcano to have erupted in the past 100 years. The last eruption was in 1944, destroying over 80 USAF aircraft based in the area.

Vesuvius from Pompeii. Image: james St.John on Flickr under creative commons license

IN 79AD, Vesuvius destroyed the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum when it erupted. It is considered to be among the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to its proximity to Naples and other nearby towns. There is a government emergency plan in place for an eruption.

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