A 20-year-old woman was hospitalized with severe burns this week after attempting to rescue her dog from a thermal hot spring in Yellowstone National Park.
Laiha Slayton visited the park with her father and two dogs on Oct. 4, Reported by the East Idaho News. Her father, Woodraw, was helping her daughter move from Washington to Ohio, where she was scheduled to start a new job, and they traveled to Yellowstone.
After they parked, Laiha grabbed the ropes for the two Shih Tzus, Rusty and Chevy, when Rusty got away from her and went into the exploding water of a hot spring.
The National Park Service has identified the spring as Maiden’s Grave Spring, where the water temperature is 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Laiha jumped into the water to rescue the dog, and subsequently her father reached out to pull his daughter out of the water. Laiha was flown to a hospital in Idaho. Rusty was taken to a veterinarian but died from his injuries.
Laiha’s sister, Kamilla, provides updates on her condition at a fundraising page for the family that a YakTriNews has been verified by GoFundMe. Kamilla wrote Wednesday that Laiha, who has been placed in a drug -induced coma, is “stable” and “recovering slowly.” Doctors originally thought her burns, which cover around 90% of her body, were half-second-degree and half-third-degree, but a closer examination revealed they were second-degree.
“It means our father pulled him crazy fast,” Kamilla wrote. “She was so lucky. Dad saved her life. Please send love and praise her way. She was in the thick water for about 8 seconds.”
Woodraw is receiving treatment for a burn on his foot that he suffered while pulling his daughter out of the spring. Kamilla also said the other dog, Chevy, was OK and “well handled things, everything is considered.”
In its statement, the park service said the incident was “under investigation.” It also noted that pets are prohibited on “boardwalks, hiking trails, in the backcountry, or in thermal areas.” This was the second significant damage to a Yellowstone thermal area this year, after a 19-year-old concession worker the park suffered second and third degree burns at Old Faithful in September.
There have also been many similar incidents in recent years, including the death of a man who left a designated boardwalk area and slipped and fell into a hot spring in the park’s Norris Geyser Basin. In that case, the remnants of the man’s body is more soluble by hot acidic water.