Yellowstone National Park said in a news release on Thursday, November 17, 2022, that the human foot found in Abyss Pool in the West Thumb Geyser Basin, belonged to Il Hun Ro, a 70-year-old man from Los Angeles, California.
On Tuesday, August 16, 2022, a park employee found part of the foot in a shoe floating in Abyss Pool.
Yellowstone law enforcement officers received the positive identification based on DNA analysis in the last three weeks and notified the family.
In August 2022, staff discovered part of a foot in a shoe floating in the well-known thermal feature and an investigation led by Yellowstone law enforcement officers began.
The investigation determined, to the best of their knowledge, that an unwitnessed incident involving one individual happened on the morning of July 31, 2022, at Abyss Pool, and no foul play occurred.
Based on a lack of evidence, the circumstances surrounding the death of Ro remain unknown.
This investigation has concluded, and the park has no additional information to share.
The hot spring is one of the deepest at Yellowstone, with a depth of more than 50 feet, and its temperature can reach approximately 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Yellowstone National Park website provides the following information about safety around thermal features:
- Always walk on boardwalks and designated trails. Keep children close and do not let them run on boardwalks.
- Do not touch thermal features or runoff.
- Swimming or soaking in hot springs is prohibited. More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs.
- Pets are prohibited in thermal areas.
- Do not throw objects into hot springs or other hydrothermal features.
- Toxic gases may accumulate to dangerous levels in some hydrothermal areas. If you begin to feel sick while exploring one of our geyser basins, leave the area immediately.
According to the Associated Press, park officials say since 1890, at least 22 people have died in or around the park from hot spring-related injuries.