13-year-old Mateo lost his life falling inside the Ojo Del Diablo volcano crater in Veracruz’s Volcancillo region

Tragedy strikes as young Mateo falls during a Veracruz family picnic; the renowned "Ojo del diablo" claims another life.
  1. A joyful family outing in Veracruz’s Volcancillo region took a tragic turn with Mateo’s unexpected fall into the crater.
  2. Rescuers worked through the night, combining efforts from multiple agencies, to recover the 13-year-old’s body from the “Ojo del Diablo.”
  3. The Volcancillo’s captivating history and treacherous terrains serve as a stark reminder of nature’s unpredictable beauty and danger.

In the picturesque Volcancillo region of Veracruz’s capital, a tragic incident unfolded on Friday, August 11, when a young boy’s adventurous outing turned fatal. The 13-year-old, identified as Mateo, had embarked on a family picnic to the famed “Ojo del Diablo” or “eye of the devil” – a natural cavity in Volcancillo, notable for its vertigo-inducing landscapes and a vast network of caves.

Commonly frequented for hiking and adventure sports, the wooded surroundings of the Perote Valley were the chosen destination for the Xalapeña family from the Revolución neighborhood. They intended to immerse themselves in the beauty of the region, which is marked by a dense coniferous forest and is home to various wildlife, including chameleons, rattlesnakes, rabbits, and various insects.

The minor was enjoying a day out with his family. Credit: Social Networks
The minor was enjoying a day out with his family. Credit: Social Networks

Minor falls into a crater and dies

However, the day took a dark turn when Mateo accidentally fell into the crater. From its staggering height of about 150 meters, the fall was fatal. “The minor was enjoying a day out with his family,” a heart-wrenching image caption shared on social networks read.

Upon the tragic incident, the victim’s relatives promptly alerted the authorities, seeking assistance to retrieve Mateo’s body. Responding to the call, paramedics from the National Rescue Squadron of Xalapa, alongside a fleet of emergency vehicles, promptly arrived at the scene. The rescue mission commenced with the night settling in at precisely 9:45 p.m. Armed with ropes, harnesses, and specialized equipment, the team began their challenging descent.

The victim's relatives requested the presence of the rescue forces. Credit: Social Networks
The victim’s relatives requested the presence of the rescue forces. Credit: Social Networks

Mateo’s body is rescued.

Hours later, close to midnight, the rescuers successfully located and extracted Mateo’s body. It was transferred to the Forensic Medical Service (Semefo) in Xalapa. The rescue operation, reflecting the gravity of the situation, witnessed the combined efforts of fifteen members from various organizations, including the Fuerza Civil, Las Vigas Municipal Police, and others.

For those unfamiliar, the “Ojo del Diablo” isn’t just known for its imposing appearance from 2,800 meters above sea level and its captivating history. Formed due to a volcanic eruption, the natural cavity extends up to a kilometer in diameter and plunges 250 meters deep. Despite the sensation of cold that often cloaks the region, the adrenaline from physical activity, especially after a six-kilometer trek, tends to keep the chill at bay.

The area is known as "Ojo del diablo". Credit: Social Networks
The area is known as “Ojo del Diablo”. Credit: Social Networks

This is what the so-called “eye of the devil” looks like.

Many tourists, donning helmets and lamps, frequent this region to indulge in spelunking, which involves exploring vast underground caves. Starting from the Toxtlacoaya community, which is 29 kilometers from Veracruz’s capital, enthusiasts journey through these caverns, cherishing the unique blend of thrill and nature.

While deeply unfortunate, the incident serves as a somber reminder of the unpredictable nature of adventure and the importance of safety in such terrains.