Yellowstone visitor badly burned after falling into hot spring; tourists cautioned

Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia

A North Carolina man has been hospitalized with severe burns after falling into a hot spring late Tuesday at Yellowstone National Park.

Gervais Dylan Gatete, 21, was with seven other people when he fell into scalding water in the Lower Geyser Basin, north of Old Faithful.

Incident occurred north of Old Faithful, near West Entrance Road. Graphic: Courtesy of Yellowstone National Park

The incident underscores the danger associated with venturing off-trail or beyond areas protected by railings.

"Yellowstone's thermal features are dangerous," Dan Wenk, park superintendent, stated in a news release issued Wednesday. "We continually stress that people must stay on trails and boardwalks in geyser basins, not only to protect resources, but for their own safety."

Park officials were still investigating but know that Gatete's friends first attempted "evacuate" him by car. At about midnight they flagged down a ranger near Seven Mile Bridge, close to West Entrance Road.

Gatete was rushed by ambulance to West Yellowstone, in Montana, and airlifted to a nearby hospital.

This was the first serious injury to a Yellowstone visitor in a thermal area this year. Last June, an Oregon man died after leaving the boardwalk and falling into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin.

Yellowstone National Park encompasses parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The West Entrance is popular among tourists hoping to visit the park's many geysers.

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