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21-year-old severely burned after falling into Yellowstone hot spring

Why he fell remains unclear.
Yellowstone National Park
Photo: Getty Images

Yellowstone’s majestic beauty makes it a popular tourist spot for nearly 3.5 million visitors every year. Yet, like all national parks, it’s not without its risks. Now there is another sad story to add to the list of national park injuries. On Tuesday evening, a 21-year-old visiting the Lower Geyser Basin (by the Old Faithful area) fell into a hot spring and was injured.

“Man severely burned after falling into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin off of Fountain Flat Drive,” Yellowstone’s official tweet read, linking to a press release on the matter. Gervais Dylan Gatete from Raleigh, North Carolina, according to the statement, was injured late on Tuesday when he fell in.

 

“After the incident, the group attempted to evacuate Mr. Gatete by car. Just before midnight, they flagged down a ranger near Seven Mile Bridge on the West Entrance Road. Park staff provided immediate medical assistance and transported the patient via ambulance to the airport in West Yellowstone. From there, he was flown to a hospital,” the statement reads.

Certainly a harrowing reminder to brush up on safety in thermal areas before a visit to the sprawling park. “Yellowstone’s thermal features are dangerous,” said Superintendent Dan Wenk, as the press release continued. “We continually stress that people must stay on trails and boardwalks in geyser basins, not only to protect resources, but for their own safety.”

While this was the first serious thermal injury of 2017, a man died after falling into a hot spring in Norris Geyser Basin last June. Tuesday’s incident remains under investigation.