Philip Carroll, 23, of Maryland is one lucky guy. He slipped and fell into the crater at Mt. Vesuvius after taking a selfie and walked away with just some scratches and bruises.
According to reports, Carroll and two family members were vacationing in Italy last Saturday when they decided to hike Mt. Vesuvius, the infamous volcano that leveled the city of Pompeii back in 79 A.D. The three began their hike at the nearby town of Ottaviano and elected to take a trail closed to tourists and clearly marked with a gate and “no access” signs.
Once they reached the summit of the crater, which is about 4,000 feet high and 1,500 feet in diameter, Carroll accidentally dropped his phone after taking a selfie, and the phone fell a few meters into the crater. When he went to retrieve it, he slid “a few meters” himself and could not climb back out.
“He tried to recover it, but slipped and slid a few meters into the crater,” said Paolo Cappelli, the president of the Presidio Permanente Vesuvio based at the top of the crater. “He managed to stop his fall, but at that point he was stuck.
“He was very lucky. If he kept going, he would have plunged 300 meters into the crater,” Cappelli added.
Fortunately, some guides on the other side of the crater witnessed Carroll’s fall through binoculars and raced over to help. They managed to rescue him by throwing him a rope and pulling him up and out of the hole.
According to NBC News, someone who appears to be Carroll’s brother posted a video from the summit on Instagram on Sunday. On the video, a person off camera can be heard yelling, “We hiked to the top of a literal f—— volcano!”
After Carroll was treated for his injuries, he was taken into police custody at Carabinieri. The charges he faces remain unclear; however, MSN reports that he may be charged with “invasion of public land” for accessing a trail that had been closed off to the public.
Vesuvius is still an active volcano and is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted in the last one hundred years. There was a major eruption in March 1944, which destroyed many villages. However, major eruptions occur only once every few thousand years, and the area around Vesuvius is now heavily populated.