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Three-year-old suffers thermal burns in Yellowstone National Park

Visitors: stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas
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Posted at 2:51 PM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 17:04:09-04

A three-year-old was life-flighted to an Idaho hospital after falling into a small thermal feature in Yellowstone National Park on Friday, shortly before noon.

According to park officials, at 11:39 a.m., a three-year-old suffered second-degree-thermal burns to the lower body and back. The incident occurred near the Fountain Freight Road, near Midway Geyser Basin.

Witnesses said the child took off running from the trail, slipped, and then fell into a small thermal feature.

Due to the injuries, the child was life-flighted to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and the incident is under investigation.

Other details include:

  • The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface. Visitors must always remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features. Learn more about safety in thermal areas at go.nps.gov/yellsafety.
  • This is the second significant injury in a thermal area in 2020. In May of this year a visitor (who illegally entered the park) fell into a thermal feature at Old Faithful while backing up and taking photos. In September 2019 [nps.gov], a man suffered severe burns after falling into thermal water near the cone of Old Faithful Geyser. In June 2017 [nps.gov], a man sustained severe burns after falling in a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin. In June 2016 [nps.gov], a man left the boardwalk and died after slipping into a hot spring in Norris Geyser Basin. In August 2000, one person died and two people received severe burns from falling into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin.