Boy, parents die after falling into a volcanic crater in Italy

A boy and his parents have been killed after falling into a volcanoic crater in Italy it has emerged

According to local media reports, the 11-year-old crossed a safety barrier before falling into the crater.

"The moving sands swallowed all three and the gas exhalation would have been lethal", is how Italian news outlet La Repubblica described the tragedy, adding that the hole was probably saturated with carbon dioxide.

The boy's parents, identified as Massimiliano Carrer, 45, and Tiziana Zaramella, 42, from the town of Meolo near Venice, tried to save their son, but the crater collapsed.

Lorenzo is believed to have fainted as a result of inhaling toxic fumes before he fell into the crater.

The three-metre-deep pit opened up as the mother and father followed their son, who is thought to have entered an area forbidden to visitors, and the bodies were later recovered by firefighters.

The couple's other son, a 7-year-old boy, managed to get to safety. "We are still trying to understand what happened". I did not imagine that I would have seen such.

According to the Italian fire brigade officers, the three dead bodies were pulled from a shallow hole in a section of the crater at the Solfatara volcano, which was cordoned off by a wooden fence meant to keep tourists out of the danger area.

'They pulled out two bodies, then pulled us away. "I continue to think of the family and of the poor child who was crying and calling for help", Vitagliano, a pizza maker from Pozzuoli, told the newspaper la Repubblica. The 7-year-old remained in place behind the barrier and wasn't injured.

"We tried to calm him, of course he was very shocked", Guerriero said. He was placed in the custody of social workers until his grandparents arrived.

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