Couple and son die in volcanic crater

World | 14 Sep 2017

A couple and their 11-year-old son have fallen to their deaths in a volcanic crater in Italy as their seven-year-old boy stood nearby.

The tragedy unfolded when the older son, Lorenzo, walked into a prohibited area at Solfatara and stumbled into the crater.

The boy's father, Massimiliano Carrer, from Meolo in northern Italy, then attempted to save his son, only for the ground to give way under him, causing him to fall into a 5-foot crater and be overcome by fumes, the Daily Mail reported.

Finally the mother, Tiziana Zaramella, 42, rushed in to save them, only to suffer the same fate when the crater collapsed.

The steamy volcanic fields at Solfatara are scorching hot only a few inches below the surface and they are understood to have died of asphyxia, possibly because of hot gases.

However, the official cause of death will be determined by an autopsy.

Another of the couple's sons, seven- year-old Alessio, survived amid reports he was able to scramble to safety.

The devastating misfortune befell the family as they were enjoying the final day of their holiday.

Local reports have named the victims as engineer Massimiliano Carrer, his wife and Venice Airport worker Tiziana Zaramella and their son Lorenzo.

Fire brigade spokesman Luca Cari said: "Either there was a small explosion, or the ground simply gave way from their weight, and they fell into this hole. It was inside a fenced-off area."

Eyewitnesses reported arriving at the scene to find a young boy crying and asking for help.

Emergency crews descended on the site within minutes.

Diego Vitagliano said: "I saw a child run crying, I did not think I was facing the worst tragedy of my life.

"They pulled out two bodies, then pulled us away."

The Solfatara volcano is one of many volcanic craters in the Campi Flegrei area, 2,012 miles west of Naples, which first opened up to tourists in 1900.

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