Details released in hot spring death

1115-yellowstone-hot-springYellowstone Nat’l Park (KCWY/NBC) — Yellowstone National Park officials say a Portland man who died in a hot spring in Yellowstone last June was apparently looking for a place to “hot pot”, or sit in warm water.

The final report on the accident followed a Freedom of Information Act request. The victim’s sister reportedly witnessed the accident–and the pair of visitors made a series of poor decisions that led to the man’s death.

The accident happened in Norris Geyser basin on the afternoon of June 7. Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress says it is a very dangerous area with boiling acidic waters. “There’s a closure in place to keep people from doing that for their own safety and also to protect the resources because they are very fragile. But, most importantly for the safety of people because it’s a very unforgiving environment.”

But, according to the official incident report released by the National Park Service, 23-year old Colin Nathaniel Scott of Portland, Oregon, and his sister Sable Scott left the board walk near Pork Chop Geyser. They walked several hundred feet up a hill. “But they were specifically moving in that area for a place that they could potentially get into and soak. I think they call it Hot Potting,” said Ranger Veress.

The report says Sable used her phone to record the journey. She was shooting a video of her brother when the deadly accident happened. However, the park won’t share that video, or even a description of it.

Other areas of the report are redacted under the Privacy Act. Ranger Veress says it was done out of sensitivity to the family.

The report did quote Sable as saying, “Her brother was reaching down to check the temperature of a hot spring when he slipped and fell into the pool.”

Search and rescue rangers who arrived later did find the victim’s body in the pool, along with his wallet, and flip flops. But, a lightning storm stopped the recovery efforts. The next day, workers could not find any remains. Veress says the water was churning, and acidic. “In a very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving.”

Veress added the park posts “danger” signs for a reason. “Because it is wild and it hasn’t been overly altered by people to make things a whole lot safer, it’s got dangers. And a place like Yellowstone which is set aside because of the incredible geothermal resources that are here– all the more so.”

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