A tourist ignored another visitor’s warning and dipped her fingers into a deadly boiling spring in Yellowstone National Park, video shows.
The video, posted to the Instagram account @TouronsofYellowstone on Tuesday, June 20, shows two tourists standing by the edge of a steaming hot spring with the pedestrian boardwalk behind them.
Spectators stand and watch from the boardwalk as the tourist crouches down on her hands and knees right at the edge of the spring and reaches her hand out to touch the steam boiling from its surface.
The person filming grumbles it’s “stupid” to a nearby visitor.
The tourist then grabs hold of the other person’s hand and leans forward to reach the tip of her shoe and her fingers into the scalding water, the video shows.
She flinches backward and scrambles to get up away from the spring. She runs back toward the boardwalk while yelling “it’s hot! It’s very hot!”
The Instagram user who originally posted the video wrote in the caption that they “would have called these people in,” but they couldn’t find a ranger and didn’t have cell service.
The poster captured the video at Silex Spring in the Fountain Paint Pot Area.
“I told him that was a bad idea and they shouldn’t get off the board walk,” the poster said in the video caption. “His response was ‘whatever man’. So I hit record.”
Yellowstone National Park officials did not respond to McClatchy News’ request for information.
Yellowstone’s hot springs
The spring has an average temperature of 174 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Park Service. It overflows most of the year and last erupted in 2006.
Silex Spring is in the Fountain Paint Pot Area, which runs along various hydrothermal features along Yellowstone’s “still active volcano.”
A National Park Service web page about the trail says there is thermal activity throughout the entire area and warns pedestrians to stay on the boardwalk at all times.
That’s for good reason. A Park Service web page about Silex Spring encourages visitors to consider how the hot water arrived at the surface to begin with.
“Deep beneath your feet, heat from the molten rock of the earth’s interior is transmitted up through the solid rock of the earth’s crust,” the National Park Service says. “Ground water circulating through these rocks becomes heated and follows cracks and fissures upward. Where the hot water can escape the ground’s surface, a hot spring is formed.”
Last year, part of a human foot inside a shoe was spotted floating in one of the park’s deepest hot springs, McClatchy News previously reported.
Investigators think the foot belonged to someone who fell or went into the Abyss Pool the morning of July 31.
More people have been injured or killed in the park’s hot springs than any other natural feature, rangers say.
In October 2021, a 20-year-old woman was severely burned after she ran into a hot spring to rescue her dog, McClatchy News previously reported. The dog died from its injuries.
The month before, a 19-year-old had third-degree burns over 5% of her body after visiting the Old Faithful geyser.
In 2016, a man may have dissolved after trying to soak in a thermal area, a practice known as “hot potting.” Workers couldn’t find any remains, and park rangers believe he dissolved in the deadly hot water.
“The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface,” rangers said at the time. “Everyone must remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features.”