The man, who was visiting the famous volcano that towers over the Italian city of Naples, reached the more than 4,200 foot-high summit of the volcano, with two family members on Saturday, NBC reported.
Paolo Cappelli, the president of the Presidio Permanente Vesuvio, told the outlet the man and his relatives hiked up Vesuvius from the town of Ottaviano and accessed the top of the volcano through a forbidden area.
The man, who NBC identified as Phillip Carroll of Maryland, survived the fall.
“This family took another trail, closed to tourists, even if there was a small gate and ‘no access’ signs,” Cappelli told the outlet.
When the family reached the top of the volcano, the man stopped to take a selfie when his phone slipped out of his hand and into the mouth of the volcano, the outlet reported. He then climbed down into the crater in an attempt to get his phone back, only to fall after losing his balance.
“He tried to recover it, but slipped and slid a few meters into the crater. He managed to stop his fall, but at that point he was stuck,” Cappelli told NBC.
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Police also responded to the scene and a mountain rescue helicopter was launched to assist the rescue operation, the outlet reported. Responders used a long rope to pull the man to safety.
The man reportedly suffered scratches and cuts to his arms and back in the fall. He was then reportedly taken into custody by the local police. The tourist and his relatives face charges after being reported by police for the invasion of public land.
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.