Yellowstone Park ac­ci­dent vic­tim dis­solved in boil­ing acidic pool

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

The re­mains of a man who died in a hot spring ac­ci­dent in Yellowstone Na­tional Park were dis­solved be­fore they could be re­cov­ered, it has emerged.

Colin Scott, 23, died in June in an il­le­gal at­tempt to soak, or “hot pot”, in the US park’s ther­mal pools.

The ac­ci­dent was recorded by the vic­tim’s sis­ter on her mo­bile phone, the in­ci­dent report says.

The grisly de­tails came to light fol­low­ing a free­dom-of-in­for­ma­tion re­quest by lo­cal tele­vi­sion news.

Es­tab­lished in 1872, Yellowstone Na­tional Park is lo­cated mostly in the state of Wy­oming but ex­tends into parts of Mon­tana and Idaho too.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­ci­dent report, Mr Scott and his sis­ter, Sable Scott, left the de­fined board­walk area in Nor­ris Basin on 7 June.

“The whole area is geother­mally ac­tive,” Yellowstone’s deputy chief ranger Lo­rant Ver­ess told KULR 8, which broke the story.

“There’s a clo­sure in place to pro­tect peo­ple from do­ing that for their own safety. It’s a very un­for­giv­ing en­vi­ron­ment.”

He said the pair had been specif­i­cally look­ing for an area to soak in the ther­mal springs, de­spite the po­ten­tial dan­ger and warn­ing signs.

Ms Scott was record­ing a video of her brother on the phone as he reached down to test the water, be­fore he slipped and fell in.

Au­thor­i­ties did not share the video, or a de­scrip­tion of its con­tents, out of sen­si­tiv­ity to the fam­ily, the report says.

Res­cue teams later found his body in the pool but aban­doned at­tempts to re­trieve it due to the de­creas­ing light avail­able, the dan­ger to them­selves and an ap­proach­ing light­ning storm.

The fol­low­ing day, work­ers were un­able to find any sig­nif­i­cant re­mains in the boil­ing water.

“In a very short or­der, there was a sig­nif­i­cant amount of dis­solv­ing,” Mr Ver­ess said.

The area of the park where the ac­ci­dent took place is on the edge of the fa­mous Yellowstone caldera, a “su­per­vol­cano” or “hotspot”.

The caldera’s ac­tiv­ity fu­els the ther­mal pools in the area and it also has the po­ten­tial for a “cat­a­clysmic” erup­tion which would change global cli­mate for decades.

How­ever, ex­perts at the US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey, which care­fully mon­i­tors the area, say “the chances of this sort of erup­tion at Yellowstone are ex­ceed­ingly small in the next few thou­sands of years.”

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