The location where a man is believed to have fallen into a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park is the site of the highest temperature ever recorded in a geothermal area of the park, a spokesperson said Wednesday.
The search is continuing for the man, in his 20s, after a witness reported seeing him walk off the boardwalk and into a hot spring Tuesday afternoon.
Rangers are treating the incident, which occurred 225 yards off the boardwalk, as a “probable fatality,” according to a statement from the park.
The incident occurred at Norris Geyser Basin, a popular tourist attraction in the Wyoming park. Steamboat Geyser, the world’s tallest geyser, is in the area.
The basin is the hottest and oldest of the park’s many thermal hot springs and geysers. Few of the features in the basin are cooler than boiling, a park spokesperson said in an email Wednesday.
The highest temperature ever recorded in a geothermal area of the park — 459 degrees Fahrenheit in a drill hole 1,087 feet below the surface, according to the park’s website — was at Norris Geyser Basin.
While the investigation continues, rangers are being extremely cautious due to the hazards of the area, according to the park’s statement.
The Norris basin is closed during the investigation.
The park planned to release more information later Wednesday.
The probable fatality comes after several other recent high-profile incidents in the park: a boy fell in a hot springs and was burned but rescued by his father earlier in the week; and last month, a bison calf was put down after it was rejected by the herd when man put it into an SUV, thinking it was too cold.
Information on safety in thermal areas and during encounters with wildlife is posted on Yellowstone’s website.