Man's body disintegrated after he fell into superheated, acidic mud pot

Mammoth Hot Springs, limestone terraces, at Yellowstone National Park, WY (AP photo, Oct. 1, 1992)
Mammoth Hot Springs, limestone terraces, at Yellowstone National Park, WY (AP photo, Oct. 1, 1992)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP/INSIDE EDITION) - The Oregon man whose body disintegrated after he fell into a scalding Yellowstone National Park hot spring in June was looking for a place to "hot pot," the forbidden practice of soaking in one of the park's thermal features, officials revealed.

Hot potting was not named in the official National Park Service report regarding the June 7 incident. That’s when Colin Scott, 23, slipped to his death after reportedly walking off a boardwalk with his sister.

However, Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress told a Billings, Montana station, it was that dangerous practice that led to Scott's demise.

He said the victim’s sister, Sable Scott, told investigators Colin left a boardwalk near Pork Chop Geyser and walked several hundred feet up a hill in search of "a place that they could potentially get into and soak."

As she took video of her brother with her cellphone, he reached down to check the water temperature and slipped and fell into a thermal pool (in the Porkchop Geyser area of the park) about 6 feet long, 4 feet wide and 10 feet deep, according to the Park Service report.

Park officials didn’t release the video or a description of it, but said it also chronicled Sable Scott's efforts to rescue her brother.

Scott died in the superheated, acidic mud pot.

Search and rescue rangers spotted Colin Scott's body floating in the pool the day of the accident, but a lightning storm prevented recovery, the report said.

The next day, workers could not find any remains in the boiling, acidic water.

They were not able to be recovered.

"In very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving," Veress said.

The report included images of several signs warning people of the dangers of the park's geothermal features and of traveling off walkways in the area where Colin Scott died.

The National Park Service did not issue any citations in the case.

Scott was on a college graduation trip with his sister at the time of his death, which came a day after six people were cited for walking off-trail at the park's Grand Prismatic Spring.

A week later, a tourist from China was fined $1,000 for breaking through the fragile crust in the Mammoth Hot Springs area, apparently to collect water for medicinal purposes.

"There’s a closure in place to keep people from doing that for their own safety and also to protect the resources because they are very fragile. But, most importantly for the safety of people because it’s a very unforgiving environment," Veress said.

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