Local media reports say the 11-year-old crossed a safety barrier before falling into the crater. But when his parents tried to rush to his rescue, they too were were sucked in, police said.
A 7-year-old boy is the sole surviving member of a family that was wiped out in a horrific accident near Naples, Italy, on Tuesday.
Emergency crews stand on the site where three family members died when they fell into a volcanic crater near Naples, Italy.
The couple's second son, aged seven-years-old, managed to get to safety.
Police said the boy apparently slipped after he breached a fence surrounding the prohibited area at the Solfatara Crater in Pozzuoli.
"Either there was a small explosion, or the ground simply gave way from their weight, and they fell into this hole", Cari said.
"I saw a child run crying", a witness told La Repubblica. It was a tragedy; they pulled out two bodies, then pulled us away.
It is a dormant volcano, but still emits jets of steam with sulfurous fumes and is part of the Campi Flegrei volcanic area. I continue to think about that family and that poor boy crying and asking for help'.
"We tried to calm him, of course he was very shocked", Guerriero said.
The crater is located in the Phlegraean Fields and is hugely popular with Italian school children and tourists from around the world.
The Independent reported that the volcanic crater is in the Phlegraen Fields and that the fields are scorching hot only a few inches below the surface.