JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Details are still sketchy but Yellowstone officials are reporting an employee of park concessionaire Xanterra Parks and Resorts was severely injured after falling into a thermal feature in the Lower Geyser Basin area. The incident occurred late Tuesday night.
Gervais Dylan Gatete, 21, from Raleigh, North Carolina suffered severe burns after he fell into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin off of Fountain Flat Drive just north of the Old Faithful area. Gatete was with seven others when the accident occurred. Members of the group attempted to get Gatete to medical care by car but eventually flagged down a ranger near Seven Mile Bridge on the West Entrance Road just before midnight.
Park staff provided immediate medical assistance and transported the patient via ambulance to the airport in West Yellowstone. From there, he was flown to a hospital. Investigations continue today as to exactly how Gatete came to fall into the hot spring.
Park superintendent Dan Wenk used the incident to illustrate the importance of staying on trails and boardwalks, and to treat the park’s thermal features with extra caution.
“Yellowstone’s thermal features are dangerous,” Wenk said. “We continually stress that people must stay on trails and boardwalks in geyser basins, not only to protect resources, but for their own safety.”
The ground in many hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, with scalding water just below the surface. This is the first serious injury in a thermal area this year. Last June, a man left the boardwalk and died after slipping into a hot spring in Norris Geyser Basin.