American tourist falls into active volcano in Italy trying to take a selfie

An American tourist fell into an active volcano trying to take a selfie.
An American tourist fell into an active volcano trying to take a selfie. Photo credit: Reuters/Getty Images

An American tourist is lucky to be alive after he fell into an active volcano in Italy while trying to take a selfie. 

The 23-year-old was trying to take a picture on Mount Vesuvius, an active volcano, on Saturday (local time) when he dropped his phone. 

The tourist then attempted to retrieve his phone but slipped and fell several metres into the crater.

It's understood the man had walked on a forbidden path to reach the summit of the volcano, according to a spokesperson for the Carabinieri of the Forestry department of the Park of Vesuvius. 

The spokesperson said the man took the unauthorised route because it costs €2490 (NZD$4079) to visit the volcano. 

He was with several other tourists at the time and was luckily spotted by some local guides who came to his rescue at around 3pm (local time).

The tourist remarkably only has some cuts and bruises on his legs, arms and back which the guides performed first aid on.

The spokesperson told ABC News the man could've fallen 300 metres if local guides didn't save him.

The president of the Volcano Vesuvius Permanent Presidium and Figav-Confesercenti, Paolo Cappell, told local media he was grateful the guides were able to save the man. 

"Having spoken directly with those who provided the rescue, I can safely say that last Saturday on Mount Vesuvius they saved a human life. I officially thank the whole group of guides belonging to the Presidio Permanente Vulcano Vesuvio, always ready and operational in any condition," Cappell said. 

After the tourist's injuries were assessed, he and the other people he was with were taken into custody by local authorities and charged with trespassing on public land.