A couple and their 11 years old son have fallen to their deaths in a volcanic crater in Italy as their seven years old boy stood nearby, it has emerged.The tragedy unfolded when 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 ground to give way under him, causing him to fall into a 5ft crater and be overcome by fumes.Finally the mother, Tiziana Zaramella, 42 years old 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 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 couple’s sons, seven years 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 before their young sons were due to return to school tomorrow.
However, separate reports claim he did not enter prohibited area at all.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 told ‘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 scene to find a young boy crying and asking for help. Emergency crews descended on the site within minutes.The seven years old boy was said to be in ‘great shock.’ The owner of a bar at entrance to the volcanic site said he ‘kept asking where his family was.’Diego Vitagliano told ‘I saw a child run crying, I did not think I was facing the worst tragedy of my life.’I was at the Solfatara for work, along with other visitors we realised that something had happened and we approached the crater still confessed witness I did not imagine what I would see.’They pulled out two bodies, then pulled us away. I continue to think about that family and that poor baby crying and asking for help.’
THE MUD POOLS AND JETS OF GAS ABOVE ITALY’S SUPERVOLCANO
The Solfatara of Pozzuoli is one of a sprawling constellation of ancient volcanoes that make up Campi Flegrei supervolcano, an area north of Naples in south western Italy.The 33 hectare site, which Romans believed was the home of Vulcan, god of fire, sits in a shallow volcanic crater and has become popular with tourists who flock to see mud pools, sulphurous fumes and emissions of steam.But the area family was visiting is also known for a type of quicksand and is prone to crumbling, it has been reported. Solfatara’s crater fields are scorching hot only a few inches below the surface.It last erupted in 1198 but more recently the ground around Naples has shown signs that the wider supervolcano range may be preparing to erupt again.The Solfatara of Pozzuoli is one of a sprawling constellation of ancient volcanoes that make up Campi Flegrei supervolcano, an area north of Naples in south western Italy +17
The Solfatara of Pozzuoli is one of a sprawling constellation of ancient volcanoes that make up the Campi Flegrei supervolcano, an area north of Naples in south western Italy
Geologists monitor the area by checking temperatures and chemically analysing gases, determining that the fields had risen by about 30 centimeters (12 inches) over a decade.The wider Campi Flegrei crater was formed 39,000 years ago in a blast that threw hundreds of cubic kilometres of lava, rock and debris into air.It was the largest eruption in Europe in past 200,000 years, according to scientists.Campi Flegrei last erupted in 1538, though on a much smaller scale.However unrest since the 1950s has been causing a build-up of energy in crust and making the volcano more vulnerable to eruption.Until now, scientists had thought that the energy needed to stretch crust was lost after each period of unrest.The episodes of unrest are caused by movement of magma around three kilometres below the volcano.An eruption becomes more likely when ground has been stretched to its breaking point.This is because the molten rock can escape to surface when ground splits apart.But it is difficult to pinpoint when an eruption will occur, because even if ground breaks, it is possible for the magma to stall before reaching the surface.The Solfatara volcano is one of many volcanic craters in the Campi Flegrei area, 20 12 miles west of Naples, which first opened up to tourists in 1900, according to its website.Heavy rain in recent days may have also played a role by creating more openings in volcanic field’s surface.The accident happened at Bocca Grande (Big Mouth), the largest of the fumaroles in the area, which the ancient Romans called the home of the God of fire.The ground at site emits water vapours of 160 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit) and gases including poisonous hydrogen sulphide, the website told.The area family was visiting is also known for a type of quicksand and is prone to crumbling, it has been reported.Vincenzo Figliolia, the local mayor, said he was ‘upset’ by the tragedy adding ‘I express my closeness from the community of Pozzuoli to family of the victims.’