ST. GEORGE — A 23-year-old man who died after slipping and falling into a Yellowstone hot spring over the summer was reportedly looking for a place to “hot-pot,” officials said in a final report released Thursday.
Yellowstone National Park released the official incident report following a Freedom of Information Act request filed by a Montana news station. The report details how rescue crews were unable to recover the victim’s body because it had dissolved in the boiling acidic waters, and that the victim’s sister had recorded a portion of the incident on her cellphone.
Colin Nathaniel Scott, of Portland, Oregon, was visiting the Norris Geyser Basin area of the park June 7 with his sister, Sable Scott, when they walked off the designated boardwalk near Pork Chop Geyser to potentially find a place to “hot pot,” or soak in the water, the report stated.
Despite park rules that prohibit such activities, the two walked approximately 225 yards up a hill where Colin Scott subsequently slipped and fell into a hot spring, approximately 6 feet long by 4 feet wide and 10 feet deep.
Sable Scott told officials she witnessed her brother “reaching down to check the temperature of a hot spring when he slipped and fell into the pool,” according to the National Park Service report which noted the temperature of the water that day was recorded at over 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sable Scott had used her phone to record the journey to the hot spring and was shooting a video of her brother when the fatal accident occurred, the report stated. Park officials, however, would not release the video or a description of it.
Search and rescue crews responded to the area and could see Colin Scott’s head, torso and hands in the water but were unable to immediately retrieve his body due to a lightning storm and safety concerns.
Upon returning the next day, crews could not find Colin Scott’s remains in the churning and acidic water but did locate his wallet and a flip-flop floating in the hot spring where he fell. Thermal feature experts determined that his body had dissolved due to the acidity and extremely high temperature of the water, according to the report.
The report states that Colin Scott was a former nature preserve volunteer who graduated from Pacific University in Portland and that he had worked with the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve in Oregon.
According to the park’s website, hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature. Pools may be near or above the boiling point of water and can cause severe or fatal burns.
Boardwalks and trails are designed to protect visitors as scalding water underlies most of the thin, breakable crust in thermal areas.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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