A devoted dog owner now suffers “significant thermal burns” after following her pet into a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park.
The 20-year-old woman from Washington lost her dog while driving through the park with her family on October 4, according to park officials, when the animal jumped from the vehicle near Firehole River in northwestern Wyoming — leading them both into the simmering Maiden’s Grave Spring.
The woman’s father reportedly pulled her as well as the dog from the scalding water feature and drove them to West Yellowstone, Montana, where park rangers and Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District could provide first aid. She was later transported to the burn center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
The park’s statement also said that the father “intended to take [the dog] to a veterinarian,” although “its status is unknown currently.” Of the human victim, they added, “Since the patient was transported outside of Yellowstone National Park, we do not know her status.”
They used the news release to remind park visitors to observe the designated boardwalks and trails to avoid a ghastly accident. Yellowstone’s more than 10,000 hydrothermal areas, including the iconic Old Faithful Geyser, are brimming with boiling water and jets of steam as hot as 275°F, according to the US Geological Survey. And while pets are welcome to enjoy the attraction with their families, they must remain in a crate or on a short leash, and prohibited from all paths through thermal areas.
Burn injuries are not uncommon at Yellowstone, where another occurred just last month — this time, a 19-year-old Washington woman — a park concessions employee — incurred second- and third-degree burns over 5% of her body. She was also treated at the burn center in Idaho after being airlifted from West Yellowstone.
The park has seen at least one significant injury per year since 2016 — among them, a 3-year-old who suffered second-degree thermal burns, and another man who died after falling into a volcanic spring in Norris Geyser Basin, according to their press center.