A 48-year-old man was severely burned after falling into a boiling hot spring in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, officials said.
Cade Edmond Siemers, an American who is currently living in India, told park rangers he had gone for a walk off the boardwalk without a flashlight and tripped into the thermal water near the Old Faithful cone geyser.
He managed to get himself back to his room at the Old Faithful Inn, where he was staying, and then called for help late Sunday night, according to a statement from the National Park Service.
Siemers sustained "severe burns to a significant portion of his body," the National Park Service said. He was transported by ambulance to the West Yellowstone Airport and then airlifted to Idaho Falls, where he was admitted to the burn unit at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. The use of a life flight helicopter from the nation's most famous geyser was forbidden due to bad weather conditions.
The park warns on its website that visitors must stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas.
"The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface," the National Park Service said in a statement Monday.
Park rangers suspect Siemers had been drinking at the time of the incident. While investigating the scene Monday morning, they discovered a beer can near the steaming geyser along with the man's shoe and hat.
They also found footprints leading to and from the hot spring, as well as blood on the boardwalk, according to the National Park Service.
Park rangers are investigating any possible damage to the geyser cone, where 200-degree boiling water erupts about every hour. The United States Attorney's Office will review their findings.
It's the first serious injury to occur in a thermal area of a national park in two years. Hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature, according to the National Park Service.