Officials are searching for a man who fell into one of the hottest thermal springs at Yellowstone National Park on Tuesday. According to witnesses to the horrific event, the man was most likely in his early 20s, and he apparently walked off of a boardwalk into a thermal pool in the Norris Geyser Basin. The incident reportedly occurred on Tuesday afternoon, and according to authorities, they are still searching for the man.
As CNN reports, rangers at Yellowstone National Park are treating the situation as a “probable fatality” because the victim hasn’t been found. A Yellowstone spokesperson released a statement hours after the man reportedly fell into the park’s thermal feature, indicating that even after hours, authorities have found no sign of the man, who has yet to be publicly identified.
“At this time, rangers are treating this incident as a probable fatality because the victim has not been located.”
Officials haven’t said whether they believe the man to be a tourist or a local, and they are have closed off the basin as part of their search efforts. According to reports, authorities are exercising extreme caution in their search efforts, as the site where the man disappeared is described as the hottest thermal area in Yellowstone National Park on the park’s website.
Because of the heat around the springs in the basin, Yellowstone officials are being cautious to prevent the tragedy from becoming even more expansive.
As ABC News reports, Yellowstone National Park rangers are not hopeful for the unidentified man’s safe recovery after his fall into the park’s hottest hot springs. Very little information about the incident has been released, as Yellowstone officials are still searching for the missing man this evening. Reportedly, media queries to the Yellowstone communications office have not been returned as of Tuesday night.
According to the Yellowstone National Park website, water temperatures in the Norris Geyser Basin area of the national park can climb to nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and if eyewitness accounts are to be believed, it’s unlikely the man would have survived a fall into water that hot.
Tuesday’s Yellowstone National Park tragedy is just the most recent in a series of high-profile incidents that have plagued Yellowstone this tourist season. Just last Saturday, a 13-year-old child suffered burns to his ankle and foot near Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin hot spring. According to reports, the boy was carried, and the person doing the carrying slipped, causing his foot to be submerged in the hot spring.
In May, a team of filmmakers from Canada were accused of breaking park rules. Apparently, the film crew not only took the dangerous risk of walking off of the established Yellowstone National Park boardwalk, they further filmed and photographed themselves playing on a dangerous and off-limits geothermal feature at the park.
@ABC Sherlock must moonlight as a Yellowstone park ranger. Yes, I'd say that's probably a safe assumption.— Justin Kiernan (@justin12680) June 8, 2016
Back in April, a woman was caught on video petting a wild bison in Yellowstone National Park, and park officials issued a stern warning to the public at large in the wake of the incident. Visitors to the park were warned that engaging Yellowstone’s native wildlife is both illegal and dangerous, and poses a risk to humans and animals alike.
The park’s April warnings apparently went unheeded by some. In May, a father-son pair of foreign Yellowstone National Park tourists actually loaded a bison calf into their SUV and took it to a nearby ranger station because they “thought it was cold.”
In that incident, the American bison calf had to be euthanized after it was rejected by its herd due to the tourist’s handling.
Yellowstone National Park was America’s first national park, and it is a huge tourist destination. People come from all over the country and the world to visit Yellowstone, and the park clearly posts safety rules and regulations to keep people and the park safe. Over four million people visited Yellowstone National Park in 2015 alone.
[Photo by Beth Harpaz/File/AP Photo]