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A fireman's fancy dress holiday stunt went tragically wrong when a cable snapped and sent him crashing into a church bell tower.
Father of two Salvatore Alfano, 45, suffered serious head injuries after slamming into the brickwork and was instantly knocked out in front of horrified spectators including dozens of children who had gathered to watch the event.
Alfano had been dressed as the 'Befana', an old woman who is part of the traditional end of Christmas festivities and had offered to take part in the stunt which involved him hurtling down a zip wire suspended between the bell tower and a nearby building.
But the cheery mood turned to tragedy after the cable snapped briefly suspending him high above the square in Caserta near Naples before he swung into the bell tower of the town's 100 year old St Michael the Archangel Cathedral.
Paramedics were quickly on the scene and he was rushed to the nearby Sant Anna hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for a serious head injury and today/yesterday doctors said he was in a "serious condition" and they could not rule out further surgery.