An American tourist has been rescued after falling into the crater of Vesuvius while trying to retrieve his phone.

Italian media said the 23-year-old tried to take a selfie at the top when his phone slipped from his grasp and fell into the crater.

He tried to reach the device during Saturday’s incident, but then fell several meters into the mouth of the volcano.

Vesuvius guides, overseen by a rescue helicopter, abseiled into the crater to reach the man, who later needed treatment for minor injuries.

Reports say the tourist and three relatives took a prohibited route to the summit and are facing charges.

Mount Vesuvius in Italy is considered by experts to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, with a population of around 600,000 living in its danger zone.

Any eruption would also impact three million people in the Naples area.

Its eruption in AD 79 buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash and rock.

Vesuvius remains the only volcano located on the European continent to have erupted in the past 100 years.

Vesuvius overlooks the Bay of Naples. Photo: AP

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When it erupted in 1913, Vesuvius remained active until 1944.

The volcano’s crater has a diameter of 450 meters and a depth of 300 meters. The highest peak of Vesuvius culminates at 1,277 meters.

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