US Tourist Falls Into Mount Vesuvius Crater – and Lives to Tell the Tale

Clare Fitzgerald
Photo Credit: 1. DeAgostini / Getty Images 2. Oziel Gómez / Pexels
Photo Credit: 1. DeAgostini / Getty Images 2. Oziel Gómez / Pexels

A 23-year-old tourist from Baltimore, Maryland was rescued after falling into the crater at Mount Vesuvius, in Italy, over the weekend of July 9-10, 2022. According to local authorities, the man, identified by NBC News as Philip Carroll, fell while trying to retrieve his cellphone, which had fallen into the famed volcano.

Trail along the side of Mount Vesuvius
Photo Credit: Marco Cantile / LightRocket / Getty Images

Mount Vesuvius is most famous for the eruption that destroyed Pompeii in 79 AD. The incident buried the ancient Roman city in 23 feet of volcanic ash, preserving the ruins. This has resulted in Pompeii becoming not just a significant archaeological site, but a popular tourist attraction.

The last time Vesuvius erupted was in March 1944, an incident which destroyed the villages of Ottaviano, Massa di Somma and San Sebastiano al Vesuvio. San Giorgio a Cremano also suffered damages. While the volcano is still active, Vesuvius National Park officials say it’s in a state of repose.

View of Mount Vesuvius from across the water
Photo Credit: Ivan Romano / Getty Images

According to Paolo Cappelli, the president of Presidio Permanente Vesuvio, a base at the top of Vesuvius from which guides operate, Carroll and members of his family began their hike up the volcano from Ottaviano. They then turned onto a trail that’s forbidden to tourists, due to the dangers it poses. It’s blocked by a gate and features numerous “no access” signs.

Two British tourists, along with an Austrian man, were also spotted walking along the trail. Speaking with ABC News, a spokesperson with the Carabinieri Forestry Department of Vesuvius National Park said it’s likely the man and his family took to the trail because tickets for visiting the volcano were all booked that day.

When the family reached the top of Vesuvius, Carroll stopped to take a selfie and accidentally dropped his cellphone into the crater. The 23-year-old slipped while trying to recover it and fell a few meters into the volcano.

“He managed to stop his fall, but at that point he was stuck,” Cappelli told NBC News. “He was very lucky. If he kept going, he would have plunged 300 meters into the crater.”

Guides with Presidio Permanente Vesuvio had noticed Carroll and his family and had begun making their way to them when they witnessed the fall. They were able to pull the American tourist to safety with a long rope, after which he was treated by an ambulance that had arrived on scene. He’d suffered scratches and cuts to his arms and back in the fall, as well as bruises to his hands.

He refused to go to the hospital.

Aerial view of Mount Vesuvius
Photo Credit: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

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Following the incident, Carroll was taken into custody by local authorities. While it wasn’t immediately clear if he’d face charges, numerous outlets reported that he and his family may be charged for invasion of public territory.


Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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