Yellowstone National Park is home to a whole host of fearsome beasts as well as a 'supervolcano' capable of wiping out humanity.
But none of these elements are as dangerous and deadly as the park's spectacular yet lethal hot springs, which are to blame for more injuries and deaths than any bears, wolves, lynx or mountain lions.
An enormous magma body and hotspot plume beneath Yellowstone Caldera, aka the supervolcano, make the park's geysers and springs scorching hot, very acidic and immensely dangerous.
They look incredible, enticing almost, but as lockdown restrictions lift anyone desperate to venture into the great outdoors and off the beaten path, would do well to think twice.
One horrifying example of why it's wise to take heed of such warnings, is the man who was boiled alive in front of his sister, who filmed the whole thing on her phone.
In 2016, Colin Scott, 23, died after he slipped and fell into one of the park's hot springs near the Porkchop Geyser.
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First, he was boiled alive, but as if that wasn't grisly enough, his body was dissolved by the acidic water before he could be saved.
Official police reports obtained after Colin's death showed that he and his sister, Sable, had hiked into a prohibited area looking for a place to have an illegal swim, known as ‘hot potting’.
The pair ignored the many large warning signs posted in the area telling visitors to remain on the boardwalk.
Sable had videoed the pair of them purposefully stepping off the Norris Geyser Basin’s boardwalk to look for a perfect pool to have a relaxing dip in when he slipped and fell into azure blue water.
The report reads: “The smartphone recorded the moment he slipped and fell into the pool and her efforts to rescue him.”
As there was no phone signal there she ran to a nearby museum to raise the alarm, but when she returned with several park rangers, it was too late.
They saw portions of Colin’s head, upper torso and hands were visible in the hot spring.
The police document continues: “Due to the report of the individual not previously visible, a lack of movement, suspected extreme temperatures, and indications of several thermal burns, the subject was determined to be deceased.”
US park ranger Phil Strehle noted in a separate report that a V-neck T-style shirt was visible, and “what appeared to be a cross was visible and resting on the subject’s face”.
Adding to the tragedy of the situation, rescuers were unable to safely recover the man’s body due to the “volatile” thermal area they had wandered into, and an incoming lightning storm.
Sadly, when they returned the next morning, Colin's body was no longer visible, although they did find a wallet and his flip-flops.
The report confirmed that they believed that Colin had been entirely dissolved overnight.
It read: “The consensus among the rescue/recovery team … was that the extreme heat of the hot spring, coupled with its acidic nature, dissolved the remains.”
Water temperatures at the basin typically reach 93C, but when rescuers came to retrieve Colin's body the pool was bubbling away at 100C – boiling point.
The videos recorded by Sable have never been released, but are kept on file by police.
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