Family dies after falling into volcanic crater in Italy

The tragedy occurred at the crater of Solfatara di Pozzuoli near Naples

Their seven year old son was also with them but stayed behind the barrier while his parents rushed to help his brother.

His mother, 42, and father, 45, tried to pull him to safety only for the base of the crater to collapse.

An Italian couple and their 11-year-old son were killed on Tuesday when a hole opened up in the ground at a bubbling volcanic crater near Naples, a popular tourist site.

According to reports, the family are from Turin in Italy and were enjoying a holiday before their children returned to school this week.

Police believe the child along with his two parents died after entering an closed off area at the Solfatara crater in Pozzuoli, near Naples.

Emergency crews were said to have arrived within minutes of the tragedy.

"I was at the Solfatara for work, along with other visitors we realised that something had happened and we approached the crater - still confessed the witness - I did not imagine what I would see". "I express my closeness from the community of Pozzuoli to the victims' family", he said.

The Solfatara crater is a dormant volcano which still emits jets of steam filled with sulphurous fumes.

"I've been here for forty years and such an accident has never happened", Armando Guerriero, owner of a nearby bar located near the entrance to the volcano, told ANSA.

"We tried to calm him", he said.

Solfatara's crater fields are scorching hot only a few inches below the surface and last erupted in 1198, the Daily Mail said.

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