The local fire brigade, who were called to the scene, are still trying to piece together the exact events of the tragedy. Luca Cari, a member of the rescue crew, said of the awful incident: “Either there was a small explosion, or the ground simply gave way from their weight and they fell into this hole. It was inside a fenced-off area.”
Meanwhile, eye-witness Diego Vitagliano, explained the haunting ordeal to R.it Naples:
“I saw a child run crying, I did not think I was facing the worst tragedy of my life. I was at the Solfatara for work, along with other visitors we realized that something had happened and we approached the crater. 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.”
Distraught, Alessio ran to the nearest building to the crater, where he was comforted by staff for several hours. One of the people to comfort him was Armando Guerriero, who tearfully explained:
“He saw his parents and brother falling into the crater. He didn’t know whether they were alive or dead. He was crying and calling his mother’s name. In the 40 years that I’ve worked here, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Officials initially believed that the three had died after they plunged into boiling hot mud in the pit of the crater, but it is now thought that they died of asphyxia, after being overcome by the hot gasses.
The bodies were retrieved by the fire services, who arrived on the scene only minutes after being called, before being placed in body bags and taken away in an ambulance.
The horrific incident has left the local area and the family’s home town in mourning. Those who knew the family explained how Lorenzo had been studying volcanos at school, which may explain why the curious boy got so close to the deadly crater.