THREE members of the same family have died after falling into a 1000C volcanic crater near Naples, Italy.
The Sun reports that one of the children - a boy aged 11 - is believed to have crossed a safety barrier and tumbled into the Solfatara Crater at Pozzuoli.
The three who died were named as Massimiliano Carrer, 45, his wife Tiziana Zaramella, 42, and Lorenzo, 11. It's reported they were killed after being boiled alive in hot mud.
A second boy - who was seven years of age - managed to scramble to safety as shocked tourists and emergency crews rushed to the scene at Pozzuoli near Naples, Italy.
Official said the parents, who are from Turin, died after they tried to rescue one of their children who had fallen in the steaming crater.
When they tried to pull him to safety, the crater's base collapsed and they both fell 1.5 metres. It is not known if they died from the gas fumes or died of burns.
The bodies were retrieved a short while later and placed in body bags before being taken away by ambulance.
It's reported in the Italian press that a post mortem will be held to determine exactly how they died.
One eyewitness said the children had crossed a safety barrier warning visitors not to approach the steaming crater.
Emergency crews were said to have arrived within minutes of the tragedy.
"I saw a child run crying, I did not think I was facing the worst tragedy of my life," said eye witness Diego Vitagliano.
"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.
"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. "
"I'm upset about what happened inside the Solfatara volcano," said local mayor Vincenzo Figliolia.
"I express my closeness from the community of Pozzuoli to the family of the victims."
The Solfatara crater is a dormant volcano which still emits jets of steam filled with sulfurous fumes.
It was formed around 4000 years ago - and last erupted in 1198.
This article originally appeared in The Sun
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