The stunning national park is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, as well as its natural hot springs – though, the latter can be extremely dangerous.
One of the world’s largest magma chambers can be found beneath Yellowstone, meaning the water at the surface of its hot springs is, unsurprisingly, almost at boiling point.
The hot springs are fenced off, with numerous warnings alerting people to the dangerous of getting too close, as no one should ever consider taking a dip – it would be fatal.
So, it came as a surprise that Colin Scott and his sister Sable Scott had gone to the park with the intention of trying ‘hot potting’ – the illegal practice of taking a dip in a hot spring.
“[They] were specifically moving in that area for a place that they could potentially get into and soak,” Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress told KULR at the time.
Sable had been recording herself and Colin “intentionally” straying from the Norris Geyser Basin’s boardwalk, when her brother fell in – apparently while dipping his finger to test the temperature of the water.
“The smartphone recorded the moment he slipped and fell into the pool and her efforts to rescue him,” the report said. There was no cellphone service in the area, so Sable reportedly went back to a nearby museum for help.
Several hours later, Colin’s body was found floating on the water, though officials were unable to recover it after a thunderstorm forced them to call off the operation. When they returned the following day, there was nothing left of the young man, except for a wallet and flip flops.
Veress wrote in his incident report that on the day Colin met his tragic end, the waters had been especially acidic. “In a very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving,” he wrote.
The geothermal ponds and pools at Yellowstone are extremely hot on the surface – 199°F (93°C) – but reach significantly higher temperatures further down.
Visitors are warned by the National Park Service to remain on boardwalks or trails that go through thermal areas. “Hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature,” warnings on the website read.
What a horrifying ordeal, and definitely something that could have been avoided if Colin and his sister had heeded the warnings.
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