A 23-year-old man who died in a Yellowstone hot spring in June was looking for a place to "hot pot," Yellowstone officials said. The victim's sister, who recorded the incident on her cellphone, told authorities the pair were looking for a hot spring in Norris Geyser basin to soak in.
Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress told NBC Montana, which received the final report on the accident through a Freedom of Information Act request, that Norris Geyser is a dangerous area filled 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," Veress said. "But, most importantly, for the safety of people because it's a very unforgiving environment."
According to the official report by the National Park Service, Colin Nathaniel Scott from Portland, Oregon and his sister, Sable Scott, left a boardwalk near Pork Chop Geyser on 7 June and walked up several hundred feet up a hill. "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," Veress said.
Sable Scott reportedly took video of her brother when he reached down to check the water temperature, slipped and fell into the hot pool. Park officials did not release the footage or give a description of it, the Associated Press reported.
NBC Montana reported that search and rescue rangers found the victim's body in the pool along with his wallet and flip flops, but were prevented from recovering the remains by a lightning storm. The following day, rescue workers could not find Scott's remains.
"In a very short order there was a significant amount of dissolving," Veress said. The deputy chief ranger said the park posts warning signs due to the dangerous nature of the hot springs.
The National Park Service did not issue any citations in Scott's death. According to the AP, Scott died a day after six people were cited for walking off-trail at Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic Spring. A week after Scott's death, a Chinese tourist was fined $1,000 (£802.07) for breaking through the crust in the Mammoth Hot Springs area to college water for medicinal purposes.