Three die after falling into Italian volcano

An 11-year-old boy allegedly stepped into a prohibited area.
An 11-year-old boy allegedly stepped into a prohibited area. Photo credit: Tiziana Zaramella / Facebook

Three members of the same family have died after falling into a volcano crater near Naples, Italy.

Massimiliano Carrer, 45, Tiziana Zaramella, 42, and their son, 11-year-old Lorenzo, died after suffering suspected asphyxia.

It has been reported Lorenzo entered a prohibited area at the Solfatara volcanic crater and fell into the crater.

His parents are then said to have tried to save him, however the ground underneath them gave way, causing them to fall two metres into the crater.

Authorities believe they died because of exposure to the hot gasses only inches under the surface.

The couple's second son, seven-year-old Alessio, survived after scrambling back to safety.

According to reports, it was the last day of the family's holiday before their sons were supposed to head back to school the next day.

Some witness reports suggest the family didn't enter the prohibited area at all and that the ground underneath them simply gave way, according to the Daily Mail.

However, emergency services say it happened in a restricted area. 

"Either there was a small explosion, or the ground simply gave way from their weight, and they fell into this hole. [But] it was inside a fenced-off area," Emergency service spokesperson Luca Cari said.

A full autopsy of the three victims is still to be carried out.