Human foot found in Yellowstone hot spring identified

West

In this photo provided by the National Park Service is the Abyss Pool hot spring in the southern part of Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., in June 2015. Park officials say part of a foot, in a shoe, found floating in the hot spring on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, is related to a July 31, 2022 death. No foul play is suspected, but the investigation continues. (Diane Renkin/National Park Service via AP)

(KTLA) — DNA testing has identified whose partial foot was seen floating in Yellowstone National Park’s Abyss Pool this summer.

In August, a park employee spotted part of a foot in a shoe floating in the hot spring in the southern part of Yellowstone.

National Park Service officials said Thursday the foot has been identified as belonging to 70-year-old Il Hun Ro of Los Angeles.

His family has been notified.

“The investigation determined, to the best of our knowledge, that an unwitnessed incident involving one individual happened on the morning of July 31, 2022, at Abyss Pool, and no foul play occurred,” NPS officials added. “Based on a lack of evidence, the circumstances surrounding the death of Ro remain unknown.”

Shortly after Ro’s foot was found, authorities said it may have been connected to a July 31 death. After hearing news of the discovery, a man in Maryland contacted NPS to report he and his family had spotted a shoe floating in the hot spring. He shared a photo of the shoe with NPS.

At the time, park officials could not confirm whether it was the same shoe found by the park employee, and Thursday’s press release did not provide any additional information.

The Abyss Pool is one of the park’s deepest and is about 140 degrees Fahrenheit. It was temporarily closed when Ro’s foot was found, though reopened a short time later.

Injuries and deaths around hot springs typically occur when park visitors step off boardwalks and trails.

“The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface,” officials cautioned.

At least 22 people have died from hot spring-related injuries since 1890 in and near Yellowstone.

In 2016, a man from Portland left the boardwalk at Norris Geyser Basin, slipped on gravel, and fell into the spring. Last year, a woman suffered serious thermal burns after trying to save her dog from a hot spring.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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