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Human foot found in Yellowstone hot spring may be linked to July death

Authorities do not suspect foul play after the discovery in the Abyss Pool.
Abyss Pool at West Thumb Geyser Basin.
Abyss Pool at West Thumb Geyser Basin.Diane Renkin / NPS

A human foot that was found in a shoe in a Yellowstone hot spring may be connected to a July 31 death, the National Park Service said Friday.

A park employee found the foot floating in the Abyss Pool, a hot spring in the West Thumb Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park, on Tuesday.

“Evidence from the investigation thus far suggests that an incident involving one individual likely occurred on the morning of July 31, 2022, at Abyss Pool,” the park service said in a statement. “Currently, the park believes there was no foul play.”

Investigators are working to determine the circumstances surrounding the death, the statement said.

Park representatives said they had no more information to share about the case Friday.

The Abyss Pool has a temperature of around 140 degrees and is one of Yellowstone's deepest hot springs with a depth of more than 50 feet.

There have been at least 22 known deaths related to thermal features in Yellowstone since 1890, park officials said in 2016 when an Oregon man fell in a hot spring and died.

A 23-year-old Portland man slipped and fell into a hot spring near Porkchop Geyser in that incident, which occurred after he and his sister left the boardwalk, the park service has said.

There have been other more recent incidents involving thermal features at the 2.2-million-acre park, resulting in injuries.

Two people were injured in hot springs last year, including a 20-year-old woman who was seriously burned after she went into Maiden’s Grave Spring to save her dog. The animal was pulled out but later died.

There are around 10,000 hydrothermal features in Yellowstone, more than 500 of which are geysers, according to the park service.

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