Despite the on-going coronavirus pandemic, there is no limit to the things people do to garner likes on social media.

A surprising example of such is the story of a woman who fell into a geyser at Yellowstone National Park after sneaking in to take a selfie with Old Faithful.

IFL science revealed that Yellowstone had closed its gate to people since March 24th in compliance with the U.S. COVID-19 lockdown, but this enthusiastic selfie hunter, in a bid to satisfy her desires, breached the gates to take pictures.

Park spokesperson Morgan Warthin stated that this woman, whose name is yet to be released, was backing up and taking selfies with different geysers when she slipped and fell into one of the hot springs where hot gases emerge.

According to the park spokeswoman Linda Veress, she must have positioned herself for a selfie before stumbling into the hole.

Despite suffering severe burns, this woman managed to drive for nearly 50 miles (80 kilometeres) before coming in contact with a park ranger who stopped her near Mammoth Hot Springs.

Once the ranger realized the critical condition in which she was in, a helicopter was called in to airlift her to a hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

While confirming the accident, a spokesperson for the Park revealed:

“Due to her injuries, she was life-flighted to the Burn Centre at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Centre.”

How Magnifying Is Yellowstone?

Despite its beauty, Yellowstone can be a dreadful place for anyone who strays from the designated boardwalks, defined trails, or patrolling rangers in the parks.

With the Park sitting on a geothermal hot spot that is filled with hot springs, steam vents, and mud pots, Yellowstone holds the world’s most extraordinary collection of thermal features.

Anyone who strays from the Park’s boardwalk or trail risks stumbling into boiling acidic water or breaking through thin surface crusts.

Out of its nearly 500 geysers, Old Faithful is considered a must-see for everyone. This Eternity Timepiece is known for its routine eruption that occurs every 60-110 minutes.

Asides its unceasing eruption, what is more, surprising is the fact that the stream can stretch more than 180 feet into the air.

Although studies have recorded temperatures in the geysers to be as high as 204 degrees Fahrenheit, each geyser’s temperature depends on whether it is underground or currently erupting.

Either way, there is no doubt that the woman suffered as many burns as she did because of the temperature in the hot spring.

As the woman’s name is yet to be identified, several questions have revolved around the incident.

From how the woman got into the Park to whether she was alone, to the degree of burns suffered, to how much of her body was burned, what thermal feature she fell into, whether she was a park employee or an employee of a business working in the Park.

These questions and many more serve as the basis of the on-going investigations.

Previous Encounters With The Yellowstone Geysers

Sadly, this is not the first incident that has been recorded. In the early part of the year, two men were caught on the cone of Old Faithful Geyser.

Both were sentenced to 10 days in jail, ordered to pay $540 restitution and banned from Yellowstone for five years. In 2019, a 21-year-old survived a dangerous deep fall into old faithful.

In September 2018, a video of a man walking on Old faithful and putting his hands inside its hole went viral.

In 2016, an Oregon man stepped off the boardwalk in Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin and fell into one of the hot springs.

Unlike others, his body dissolved in the spring within a day.

Also, in 2000, three concession workers fell into a thermal feature in Yellowstone’s Lower Geyser Basin.

While two survived, Sara Hulphers, who received the most severe burns, died in the hospital.

In an interview, the then-Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk explained that these accidents could be avoided if visitors adhere strictly to instructions.

He said:

“We take these cases very seriously. The law requires people to stay on boardwalks or marked trails in thermal areas. Anyone who ignores this law risks their life and possibly the lives of emergency personnel.”

Park Chief Ranger Sarah David also outlined the possible damages that could result from noncompliance with the Park rules.

She said:

“Visitors must realize that walking on the thermal features is dangerous, damages the resources, and is illegal.”

“Water in hot springs can cause severe or fatal burns, and scalding water underlies most of the thin, breakable crust around hot springs.”

A long term park historian, Lee Whittlesey, also revealed that park visitors die more often from falling into Yellowstone thermal features than bear attacks.

In his book – Death in Yellowstone, Accidents, and Foolhardiness in the First National Park, he claims that the Park has around 10,000 hot springs, geysers, mud pots and steam vents scattered over its mountain plateau.

Though collectively called thermal features today, all are technically hot springs.

Most are hotter than 150 degrees F, and many reach temperatures of 185-205 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Plans To Reopen Yellowstone

Although Yellowstone National Park stretches between Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, each state has its government regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Wyoming is just planning to reopen, Montana and Idaho have begun phased reopening with strict compliance to restrictions of out-of-state visitors.

Recently, Yellowstone authorities announced their intentions to reopen the entrances in Wyoming to grant visitors access to the Southern part of the Park.

While expounding on the Park’s plans to reopen, Superintendent Cam Sholly stated,

“The Park’s goal is to open safely and conservatively to ensure we take the right actions to reduce risks to our employees and visitor and help local economies begin to recover. I appreciate the cooperation we’ve had with our surrounding governors, counties, communities, and health officials in these challenging decisions. Our goal is to get the remaining entrances open as quickly and safely as possible.”

Amidst all, there have been no further updates as regards the condition of this seemingly mysterious woman.

As of now, no one knows what penalties she will face for entering the park illegally.

While there are on-going plans to reopen the Park, we hope others will be patient enough to wait rather than sneak in and risk their lives.

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