US tourist injured falling into Mount Vesuvius crater after taking selfie

Man, 23, was trying to retrieve mobile phone and he and his family now face charges for entering forbidden area

An American tourist sustained minor injuries after he fell into the crater of Mount Vesuvius as he scrambled to retrieve his phone.

The 23-year-old and his family reached the 1,281m-high (4,202ft) summit of the volcano towering over the southern Italian city of Naples after bypassing a visitor turnstile and proceeding along an out-of-bounds path.

The man was taking a selfie, according to local press reports, when his phone slipped out of his hand and into the mouth of the volcano. He then descended into the crater in an attempt to get his phone back, only to fall several metres after losing his balance.

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

The man was treated for cuts and bruises on his arms and back.

The tourist and his three relatives face charges after being reported by police for the 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.

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In September 2017 an 11-year-old boy and his parents died after falling into the crater of Solfatara di Pozzuoli, 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.

Vesuvius, which destroyed the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum when it erupted in AD79, is considered to be among the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to its proximity to Naples and other nearby towns.


Angela Giuffrida in Rome

The GuardianTramp

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