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Yellowstone Park Visitor Confirmed Dead After Falling Into Hot Spring, Rangers End Search

Jun 09, 2016 12:31 PM EDT
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Park authorities confirmed the death of a 23-year-old man who stepped off the boardwalk and slipped into a highly acidic hot spring in Yellowstone National Park on Tuesday, June 7.

Rangers ended their search after concluding that the remains of Colin Nathaniel Scott from Oregon cannot anymore be recovered. The search had been difficult due to the hazardous conditions in the national park, as per CBS News.

Other than his personal belongings, Scott's body has not been retrieved. 

Park officials said a witness saw Scott walk off the boardwalk in the Norris Geyser Basin area. This area is the oldest, hottest and most dynamic thermal area in the park and has hot springs that can reach nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius).

After walking off the boardwalk, he fell into the thermal spring around 205 meters (225 yards) away. Scott was reported to be with his sister who witnessed the accident as well. 

In the park's official statement, authorities expressed sympathy to the Scott family.

"This tragic event must remind all of us to follow the regulations and stay on boardwalks when visiting Yellowstone's geyser basins," said Superintendent Dan Wenk. Walking off the boardwalk, which snakes through the basin for more than two miles for a picturesque tour of the geothermal park, is considered illegal.

For the 2016 summer season, this is the second reported thermal-related incident in Yellowstone. On Saturday, June 6, a father and his 13-year-old son suffered burns after they walked off the designated trail in the Upper Geyser Basin.

The first national park in the world and in the United States, the Yellowstone is frequented by millions of visitors. Last year, it recorded more than 4 million people visiting the park.

With the influx of visitors come the accidents, too, usually caused by people who disregard park rules and regulations. In May, a Canadian film crew received a criminal complaint after they stepped onto a geothermal area to take videos of themselves.

Visitors have also engaged in wildlife, causing trouble in the park's ecosystem. Also last month, a Canadian man loaded a bison calf in his vehicle, thinking it was cold, only to have the animal later euthanized because it could not anymore be reunited with its herd.

The Yellowstone National Park officials continue to remind people to take caution when visiting the park. It is beautiful and awe-inspiring, but still a ferocious geothermal landscape. Since 1890, there have been 22 recorded fatalities linked to its thermal areas, as per New York Times.

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