Porcelain Basin, Norris Geyser Basin

Man Dies in Scalding Yellowstone Hot Springs

A horrifying story is coming out of Yellowstone on Tuesday of a young man who ventured off the boardwalk at one of the park’s famous hot springs and fell into the scalding drink. His body has not been found.

Onlookers said Colin Nathaniel Scott, 23, walked about 225 yards off the path at Norris Geyser Basin and fell into a thermal spring pool with waters estimated at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Billings Gazette.

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Scott was travelling with his sister who reported the accident. Park officials have presumed the man dead because they were unable to retrieve his body.

Rescue crews tried to reach where they believed the young man to be located but the fragile crust of the geyser basin proved too fragile. One rescue worker commented on the “futility of it all,” referring to the high temperature and acidic nature of the spring, which can rapidly break down any remains. 

emerald pool. norris basin

“They were able to recover a few personal effects,” park spokeswoman Charissa Reid told the Associated Press. “There were no remains left to recover.”

Any visitor to Yellowstone National Park is well familiar with the lengthy boardwalks that navigate steaming hot springs throughout the park’s extensive geothermal features. Warning signs are everywhere advising not to leave the boardwalk.

This recent story marks at least 22 hot springs-related deaths in and around the park since 1890, according to historian Lee Whittlesey, author of the book Death in Yellowstone, who spoke with the Associated Press.

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There is no shortage of stupidity at Yellowstone with visitors last month loading a bison calf into their SUV thinking it was cold and numerous stories of people being attacked by animals for getting too close with their cameras. Earlier this year, park officials had to warn people to mind their distance around the animals. 

And just last week a 13-year-old boy suffered burns to one of his limbs from a hot springs at Morning Glory Pool. 

norris boardwalk

Photo credit: Wikimedia/Flickr