Yellowstone National Park woman suffers burns after falling into thermal hot spring after illegally entering closed area. Burned while backing away and taking photos.
A woman on Tuesday incurred severe burns after illegally entering the Yellowstone National Park and falling into a hot spring, officials from the park have revealed.
Yellowstone has been shut off to the public since March 24 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but the woman was said to have ignored the closure and trespassed on the Wyoming side of the park.
The woman, who has not yet been identified, was reportedly backing up while taking photos and fell into a hot spring or hole where hot gases emerge near Old Faithful geyser, park spokeswoman Linda Veress said in an email according to abcnews.
Old Faithful Geyser – is one of the most famous geysers in the world, drawing thousands of visitors each year, with park rangers imploring visitors to exercise extreme caution and to obey clearly marked signs not to veer off paths.
‘Water in hot springs can cause severe or fatal burns, and scalding water underlies most of the thin, breakable crust around hot springs,’ the park advises on its website. ‘Hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature.’
Despite her injuries, the woman was able to get back in her vehicle and drive about 50 miles before park rangers stopped her. She was then airlifted to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
The National Park Service said it’s investigating the incident and remains unsure of which thermal feature she specifically fell into.
The Old Faithful Geyser erupts about every 90 minutes, according to the NPS, and the average water temperature is 169.7 degrees Fahrenheit.
The woman’s current condition is not known at this time.
May 10, 2015 … Walking around the Upper Geyser Basin @YellowstoneNPS while staying @YNPLodges Old Faithful Inn pic.twitter.com/l4ThE1bI0V
— Rick Horne (@Photorrhorne) May 10, 2020
Previous fatality and injuries:
Surveillance footage revealed a person walking two loose dogs near a thermal spring on May 12 – it’s unclear if the person in the footage is the woman who later suffered the fall.
Visitors are warned to stay on the boardwalks near Yellowstone’s often boiling or acidic thermal features, which include geysers, hot springs, steam vents and mud pots. Tourists sometimes go off the designated walkways and are injured or killed.
In June 2016, 23-year-old Colin Scott of Portland, Oregon, fell into a superheated, acidic mud pot and died. His remains couldn’t be recovered. The following year, a North Carolina man suffered severe burns when he fell into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin, north of the Old Faithful area.
Earlier this year, two men that were caught trespassing on the cone of Old Faithful Geyser, which is a closed thermal area, were sentenced to 10 days in jail and five years of probation. They were also ordered to pay $540 restitution and banned from the park for five years.
‘Visitors must realize that walking on thermal features is dangerous, damages the resource, and illegal,’ Park Chief Ranger Sarah Davis said in January about the case. ‘Law enforcement officers take this violation seriously. Yellowstone National Park also appreciates the court for recognizing the impact thermal trespass can have on these amazing features.’
Yellowstone National Park, the nation’s first national park, is also the US’ sixth-most popular national park, with 4 million visitors last year. Spanning more than 3,500 square-mile, the park is located in three states: Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.