It was the height of stupidity.
A Maryland clout-seeker had to be rescued after falling into Mount Vesuvius while taking a selfie in a restricted area.
“He was very lucky,” Paolo Cappelli, president of the Presidio Permanente Vesuvio base, told NBC News of the near miss.
The fiasco occurred over the weekend as Philip Carroll, 23, and two relatives were scaling the legendary 4,203-foot volcano in Campania, Italy. They had reportedly wandered off the trail for a chance to take photos at the summit, ignoring signs stating that the area was off-limits to tourists.
“This family took another trail, closed to tourists, even if there was a small gate and ‘no access’ signs,” said Cappelli. In addition, the family had neglected to purchase tickets, required to ensure there are a manageable number of hikers on the path, the Huffington Post reported.
Disaster struck after Carroll attempted to take a selfie atop the ancient volcano, whereupon he dropped his phone into the crater. The Baltimore native then attempted to retrieve it, but slipped and fell a few meters into the mountain’s mouth before getting stuck, according to Cappelli’s retelling.
The travel boss said Carroll was lucky as “if he kept going, he would have plunged 300 meters [1,000 feet] into the crater,” likely to his death. Instead, he suffered only a banged up head, and cuts to his arms and back, as seen in Facebook photos posted by Gennaro Lametta, a government tourism official.
Fortunately, guides with Presidio Permanente Vesuvio spotted the imperiled Carroll from the opposite side of the rim and were able to rescue him using a long rope, according to Italian rag Ill Mattino. The thrill seeker was reportedly unconscious when guides recovered him, but only treated at the scene by paramedics as Carroll refused to be admitted into a hospital, CNN reported.
He was subsequently apprehended by local Carabinieri police, Cappelli said, although his charges are yet unclear.
Mount Vesuvius is most famous for being the site of the cataclysmic eruption in 79 AD, which inundated the thriving Roman metropolises of Pompeii and Herculaneum, killing thousands of people. The ash-entombed cities lay largely forgotten until the 18th century, when archaeologists excavated the site, providing groundbreaking insight into a civilization seemingly frozen in time.
The volcano has been dormant since 1944 with its last major eruption occurring in 1631.
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