North Carolina man suffers severe burns after falling into acidic Yellowstone hot spring

Gervais Dylan Gatete was flown from the airport in West Yellowstone to Salt Lake City, where he is in stable condition in hospital.

Gervais Dylan Gatete was with seven other people when he accidentally fell into the Lower Geyser Basin north of the Old Faithful area - File photoMARK RALSTON/Getty Images

A 21-year old man suffered severe burns after he fell into a hot and highly acidic thermal spring in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The man was identified as Gervais Dylan Gatete, a resident of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Gatete was flown from the airport in West Yellowstone to Salt Lake City, where he is in stable condition in hospital.

Gatete was with seven other people when he accidentally fell into the Lower Geyser Basin north of the Old Faithful area on Tuesday, 13 June, and suffered severe burns, a spokeswoman for the park said Wednesday in a statement.

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It added that a probe was on to find how Gatete fell into the spring, CNN reported.

The area is notorious for being the hottest, oldest and most dynamic of the park's thermal areas, with springs that can reach temperatures of 200F (93C).

"Yellowstone's thermal features are dangerous," Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said, adding that the ground nearby was weak and thin, with steaming water just below the surface.

"We continually stress that people must stay on trails and boardwalks in geyser basins, not only to protect resources, but for their own safety," he added.

Gatete was an employee of Colorado-based Xanterra Parks and Resorts, a hospitality company that lists Yellowstone among its affiliated properties. The company has not yet commented on the incident.

This was the first tragedy at the hot springs this year. It is said that hot springs have taken more lives and caused injuries than any other natural feature at Yellowstone.

Nearly 22 people are known to have died from hot spring-related injuries in Yellowstone since 1890, park officials have said.

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In 2016, a 23-year-old man from Portland, Oregon lost his life after falling into a thermal spring. Colin Nathaniel Scott was visiting the park in north-west Wyoming on 7 June.

He was last seen by his sister, Sable Scott, walking off the designated boardwalk in the Norris Geyser Basin area, and slipping and falling into a small hot spring about 200m away, close to Porkchop geyser.

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