Yellowstone park officials identify man whose foot was found floating in hot spring

Yellowstone National Park officials said Thursday that a foot found floating in a hot spring in August belonged to Il Hun Ro, a 70-year-old man from Los Angeles, California.

Law enforcement officers identified him using DNA analysis in the past three weeks and notified his family.

A hot spring at West Thumb Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park.
(Christian Vaisee/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

The foot was found floating on Aug. 18, 2022, in a hot spring at the West Thumb Geyser Basin, which is about 53 feet deep and reaches 140 degrees.

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“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,” park officials said in a statement on Thursday.

“Based on a lack of evidence, the circumstances surrounding the death of Ro remain unknown.”

Hot spring at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
(AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

The national park warns visitors to stay on boardwalks and trails at a safe distance from hot springs, which are formed by precipitation that seeps into the ground and becomes superheated. The hot water then rises to the surface while colder and heavier water sinks around it.

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It’s the first death linked to a hot spring at Yellowstone since a 23-year-old man slipped and fell into one at Norris Geyser Basin in July 2016.