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Tourist, 23, injured after falling into Mount Vesuvius crater while taking a selfie

The man was later taken into custody by Italian authorities.
Vesuvio Volcano crater, Campania
An aerial view of the Mount Vesuvius crater in Campania, Italy.De Agostini / via Getty Images

A tourist nearly fell to his death while attempting to retrieve his phone from Italy’s Mount Vesuvius crater, officials said.

The 23-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was taking a selfie at the crater when he dropped his phone, according to Paolo Cappelli, president of the Presidio Permanente Vesuvio, a base for guides at the top of Vesuvius.

“He tried to recover it, but slipped and slid a few meters into the crater. He managed to stop his fall, but at that point he was stuck,” Cappelli told NBC News’ Claudio Lavanga.

Luckily, guides saw the man from the opposite side of the crater with binoculars and rushed to his aid, pulling him to safety with a rope.

“He was very lucky, if he kept going he would have plunged 300 meters into the crater,” Cappelli said.

The man was visiting from the U.S. and had been hiking with two family members. While there is a main trail for tourists to follow around Vesuvius, Cappelli said the man and his family “took another trail, closed to tourists, even (though) there was a small gate and ‘no access’ signs.”

The man suffered cuts and bruises on his arms and back, as seen a photo shared by Guide Vulcanologiche Vesuvio, a travel company.

The man suffered cuts and bruises from the fall.
The man suffered cuts and bruises from the fall.Guide Vulcanologiche Vesuvio

After he was rescued, the tourist was taken into custody by the local Carabinieri police force. It was unclear what charges, if any, he is facing.

Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano near Naples in southern Italy. The large crater at the center of the volcano is about 1,000 feet deep and 2,000 feet across. The volcano’s major eruption in 79 AD famously destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.