A man is his early 20s was feared dead after wandering off a designated walkway Tuesday in Yellowstone National Park and falling into a hot spring, authorities said.
Park rangers hadn’t found the man as of late Tuesday and considered the incident a probable death, reported the Casper Star-Tribune, citing a statement from park officials.
Earlier in the day, Charissa Reid, a Yellowstone spokeswoman, told The Huffington Post by phone that recovery efforts were underway.
“All we know is that there is a person in the hot springs,” Reid said. “It’s a pretty dynamic situation.”
The incident occurred between 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. local time in the Norris Geyser Basin, Reid said. The man was approximately 0.13 miles off a boardwalk. Boardwalks are designed to both protect visitors and preserve Yellowstone’s delicate thermal formations. Reid said it’s illegal to venture off park boardwalks.
Hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature, according to the park’s website. Norris Geyser Basin is the “hottest, oldest, and most dynamic of Yellowstone’s thermal areas,” the website says, with “very few” thermal features below the boiling point.
The likely death adds to a string of incidents that have plagued Yellowstone this year.
Last month, Yellowstone officials said they had to euthanize a newborn bison after well-meaning tourists put the animal into the trunk of their SUV. Just days later, three Canadians faced criminal charges for stomping on the ecologically sensitive grounds of Yellowstone National Park’s iconic Grand Prismatic Spring.
Last week, despite heightened media attention, video surfaced of an elk charging a woman who was walking toward the animal in hopes of getting a closer photograph. And on Saturday, a 13-year-old boy was flown to a hospital in Jackson, Wyoming, after falling into a thermal feature in Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin, according to The Missoulian.
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