Tourist, 23, falls into Vesuvius crater after taking selfie on forbidden route

An American tourist is facing charges in Italy after falling into the crater of Mount Vesuvius while trying to recover his mobile phone.

The 23-year-old man, along with three relatives, had chosen not to pay for tickets to walk up the official safe route on Saturday (July 9).

Instead the group had bypassed a turnstile and taken a dangerous unauthorised route to the top of the 4,202ft-high volcano that looms over the Italian city of Naples.

As they reached the summit the tourist took out his phone to snap a selfie, according to local reports.

Unfortunately his mobile slipped out of his hands and tumbled down into the volcano’s crater.

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In a bid to retrieve it, the man himself fell into the volcano, miraculously only sustaining minor cuts and bruises on his arms and back.

Rescue workers abseiled into the crater to help the American out. They were later backed up by police and a mountain rescue helicopter.

The tourist and his three relatives, along with two other people, are expected to be charged with trespassing after trying off the official route on to the dangerous path to the summit.

Vesuvius is the most famous volcano in Europe, and probably the world. An eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD covered Pompeii and its sister city Herculaneum in a thick layer of hot ash – killing over 2,000 people.

While many Pompeiians left before the final eruption, thousands were caught in a final 15-minute explosion of hot ash and poisonous gases.

Roberto Isaia, senior researcher of the Vesuvius Observatory, says the deadly cloud had “a temperature of over 100C and was composed of CO2, chlorides, particles of incandescent ash and volcanic glass”.

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“Those 15 minutes inside that infernal cloud must have been interminable,” Isaia told The Guardian.

“The inhabitants could not have imagined what was happening. The Pompeiians lived with earthquakes, but not with eruptions, so they were taken by surprise and swept away by that incandescent cloud of ash.”

The site wasn’t excavated until 1748, when archaeologists were stunned to find that the deadly ash had preserved the city – and many of its inhabitants – as an almost perfect time capsule of life in the Roman Empire.

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