Old Faithful crowds

Visitors shuffle down the boardwalk following an eruption at Old Faithful.

A man was severely burned after falling into thermal water near the cone of Old Faithful geyser late Sunday night.

Yellowstone National Park officials said in a news release that Cade Edmond Siemers, a 48-year-old U.S. citizen who lives in India, tripped into a hot spring while on an off-boardwalk stroll without a flashlight just before midnight. The release said Siemers suffered “severe burns to a significant portion of his body.”

Siemers, who was staying at the Old Faithful Inn, got himself back to his hotel room and called for help. Rangers and paramedics responded and “detected evidence of alcohol use,” the release said.

He was taken by ambulance to West Yellowstone Airport and flown to Idaho Falls, where he was admitted to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

On Monday, rangers investigated the thermal area where the man was walking. They found the man’s shoe, hat and a beer can near the geyser. They also saw footprints going to and from the geyser and blood on the boardwalk, the release said.

Rangers are still assessing any damage to the geyser cone, and they’ll send the results of their investigation to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecutorial review.

Visitors are required to stay on boardwalks near hydrothermal areas in Yellowstone. The ground in those areas is fragile and thin and there is scalding water below the surface.

The park release said the man’s burns are the first serious injury in a thermal area in two years. In June 2017, a man fell in a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin. In June 2016, a man died after slipping into a hot spring in Norris Geyser Basin. In August 2000, one person died and two were severely burned after falling into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin.

Michael Wright can be reached at mwright@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1.

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