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.
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.
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.”
NEW: 23-yr-old American tourist rescued after falling into Mt Vesuvius crater. Local officials tell @Lavanga the man dropped his phone while taking a selfie then tried to recover it. The man & his family were on part of a trail closed to tourists when this happened. pic.twitter.com/BwhK1TZeZV
— Shawn Reynolds (@ShawnReynolds_) July 12, 2022
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.
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.