US tourist falls into Mount Vesuvius after taking selfie

The American tourist trespassed near the volcano's crater.

July 13, 2022, 3:02 PM

An American tourist fell into Mount Vesuvius, an active volcano in Italy, after trespassing to take a selfie, officials said.

The 23-year-old man, who dropped his phone and tried to retrieve it after the selfie, fell several meters into the ash of the crater before being saved by nearby park officials on Saturday.

He sustained only minor injuries, officials said.

The man, who has not been named, allegedly walked on an unauthorized path to reach the summit of Mount Vesuvius at 1,281 meters, according to a spokesperson from the Carabinieri of the Forestry department of the Park of Vesuvius.

The spokesperson told ABC News he believes the man went on the unmarked path because tickets for visiting Vesuvius, which are limited to 2,700 a day, were all booked.

PHOTO: The Vesuvius volcano is located in the Vesuvius National Park in Naples, Italy, March 2, 2019.
The Vesuvius volcano is located in the Vesuvius National Park in Naples, Italy, March 2, 2019.
REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images, FILE

The man had come to the opposite side of the crater, where visitors are not permitted, the spokesperson said.

At around 3 p.m., local news sources reported the park's volcanological guides had spotted some people on the upper part of the crater, an area forbidden for solo access.

The guides immediately started moving toward the area and were able to come to the man's rescue after seeing him attempt to retrieve his cellphone, according to Carabinieri's spokesperson.

The guides also performed first aid on the man's minor injuries to his legs, arms and back.

According to Carabinieri's spokesperson, two other Americans, two Brits and one Austrian were with the American man who fell.

Some local sources have reported that there were three family members with him, but the spokesperson believes only one of the other Americans is related to the man who fell.

PHOTO: Aerial view of the Vesuvio Volcano crater located at the Vesuvio National Park, Campania, Italy, in 2018.
Aerial view of the Vesuvio Volcano crater located at the Vesuvio National Park, Campania, Italy, in 2018.
S. Amantini/De Agostini via Getty Images, FILE

The Branch of Carabinieri arrived at the scene after the man was rescued, taking him and the others into custody. They were charged with encroachment on public land or land for public use, Italian news reported.

The president of the Volcano Vesuvius Permanent Presidium and Figav-Confesercenti, Paolo Cappelli, told the Corriere Della Sera that he was grateful for the guides' work.

"[The guides] are always on the crater to safeguard the safety of tourists. So, recognizing the promptness and professionalism shown on this occasion as well seemed the right thing to do," Cappelli said.

"Having spoken directly with those who provided the rescue, I can safely say that last Saturday on Mount Vesuvius they saved a human life. I officially thank the whole group of guides belonging to the Presidio Permanente Vulcano Vesuvio, always ready and operational in any condition," Cappelli added.

A spokesperson from the Carabinieri of the Forestry department of the Park of Vesuvius told ABC News that the man could have fallen 300 meters if he wasn't stopped by the nearby guides.

He said that on the opposite side of the crater, where visitors are permitted, there are barriers around the opening, but where this man was there were none.

According to the spokesperson, it is extremely rare that visitors stray from the authorized path. Cappelli, however, said this is a somewhat common occurrence, happening about 10 times a year.

The Carabinieri spokesperson said that he does not think any kind of legal action will be taken against the man, except for a fine.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the number of tickets sold each day equals 2,700.

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