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Man Critically Burned In Yellowstone Hot Spring Fall

Yellowstone National Park officials said the visitor ventured off a boardwalk in the dark and tripped into a thermal spring near Old Faithful geyser.

A Yellowstone National Park visitor was hospitalized with severe burns after he walked off a boardwalk in the dark and tripped into a thermal hot spring near Old Faithful geyser, park officials said.

Cade Edmond Siemers, 48, an American citizen who had been living in India, was reported in critical condition at the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, a hospital spokesperson told CNN. 

Siemers told rangers he walked off a boardwalk without a flashlight late Sunday and tripped into a hot spring, which the National Park Service said caused “severe burns to a significant portion of his body.” Water temperatures at Old Faithful’s vent have been measured at 204 degrees, authorities said, and the geyser’s steam reaches 305 degrees.

Siemers made it back to his nearby hotel room and summoned help around midnight, the park service said, adding: “Rangers detected evidence of alcohol use.”

Siemers was taken by ambulance to West Yellowstone Airport and then via fixed-wing airplane to Idaho Falls. Bad weather prevented the use of a life flight helicopter.

A woman takes photos of Blue Star spring near Old Faithful Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park.
A woman takes photos of Blue Star spring near Old Faithful Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park.

The following morning rangers found the man’s shoe, hat and a beer can near the hot spring, footprints leading to the geyser and blood on the boardwalk.

“The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface. Visitors must always remain on boardwalks and exercise extreme caution around thermal features,” the park service said.

Park officials said they were studying whether any damage to the geyser cone merits referral to federal prosecutors. 

People use phones and tablets to photograph Old Faithful geyser erupting in Yellowstone National Park. The geyser's stea
People use phones and tablets to photograph Old Faithful geyser erupting in Yellowstone National Park. The geyser's steam can top 300-degrees.

The injury is the first serious mishap in Yellowstone’s thermal area in two years, when a man sustained severe burns after falling into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin.

A year earlier, a 23-year-old man died after slipping into a hot spring in the Norris Geyser Basin while looking for a place to bathe. The victim’s body completely dissolved in the boiling water, and no trace was found.

Despite posted warnings, two tourists were charged last month with thermal trespassing after they were caught leaving the boardwalk and walking up to Old Faithful for photos. In 2018, a Colorado man was arrested after a viral video showed him appearing to pee into a geyser and stick his face into it.

Tourists walk beside a hot spring at the West Thumb Geyser Basin in the Yellowstone National Park. Park officials said a man
Tourists walk beside a hot spring at the West Thumb Geyser Basin in the Yellowstone National Park. Park officials said a man fell into a thermal hot spring and suffered severe burns on Sunday.
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