A visitor to Yellowstone National Park suffered serious injuries on Sunday after falling into thermal water beside the Old Faithful Geyser. Cade Edmond Siemers, 48, called for help around midnight on Sunday from the Old Faithful Inn, where he was staying, shortly after he tripped into a hot spring. The Inn is just a short walk from the famed geyser. Siemers told park officials that we went for a stroll in the dark and fell off the boardwalk, according to a press release. Siemers did not have a headlamp.
The man suffered severe burns to much of his body, and was transported by ambulance and airplane to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
An investigation by rangers on Monday morning revealed footprints in the thermal area leading to the geyser, suggesting Siemers did not actually fall from the boardwalk, but strayed from the path intentionally. Rangers suspect that Siemers was intoxicated at the time. Wooden boardwalks around the park are designed to keep visitors in safe areas, along with signs warning folks to stay on designated paths. Siemers’s hat, shoe, and a beer can were located near the geyser, along with blood on the boardwalk.
Investigations continued on Monday, according to the park, including an assessment of any damage to the geyser cone. If the National Park Service determines the geyser was damaged, Siemers’ case could be forwarded to the United States Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
Old Faithful, which is one of nearly 500 geysers in Yellowstone, is one of the most popular sights for visitors to the park for its consistent and predictable eruptions. Yellowstone’s geysers have a history of harming visitors who come too close to their scalding plumes. In 2016, 23-year-old Colin Nathaniel Scott died after leaving the boardwalk and falling into a hot spring in the Norris Geyser Basin. In 2000, one person died after falling into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin. According to the National Park Service, 21 people have died in Yellowstone from burns.
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