American hiker falls into Mount Vesuvius while trying to retrieve his cell phone

Mount Vesuvius
A selfie-taking American tourist risked his life to save his cell phone after hiking to the summit of the famous volcano (Image credit: Atlantide Phototravel)

Back in March, Adventure reported that the top risks of hiking are being male and on your phone, and this week saw yet another incident that appears to confirm that data. A 23 year-old American tourist fell into Mount Vesuvius on Saturday while trying to retrieve his cell phone after taking a selfie.

According to NBC News, Philip Carrol of Maryland hiked up Mount Vesuvius, an active 4,200ft volcano outside of Naples which famously destroyed the city of Pompeii in a massive eruption, with two family members. The trio set off from the town of Ottaviano and reportedly used a forbidden trail to reach the top of the volcano, ignoring “no access” signs.

Upon reaching the summit at around 3 p.m., Carrol stopped to take a selfie and dropped his phone into the volcano. Instead of chalking it up to bad luck and calling his travel insurance company to find out how much a replacement was going to set him back, he then tried to recover his phone and in the process slipped and fell a few meters into the volcano’s crater. 

Hiking trail up Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius is popular with hikers and reached via a well-maintained trail, however this group used a closed trail to reach the top (Image credit: vencavolrab)

Luckily, Carrol was able to stop himself from falling any further into the 1,000ft crater, but he became stuck and unable to extract himself. Guides from Presidio Permanente Vesuvio were watching the drama unfold through binoculars from the other side of the crater and rushed over to rescue Carrol using a rope. He suffered serious scrapes and cuts to his back and arms in the fall. Carrol was taken into custody by the local police. It is unclear what charges he might face.

Back in 2018, a study by researchers associated with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences found that 250 people had died worldwide from taking selfies, and that number has unquestionably risen in the last four years. So, in case you need a reminder, while it’s nice to get a selfie at the summit, please don’t risk your life for The Gram. 

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.