Yellowstone National Park: Mother of Woman Who Suffered Serious Thermal Burns Speaks on What Happened

by Madison Miller

Last week, a 19-year-old woman suffered severe second-degree and third-degree burns at Yellowstone National Park.

Now, Mary Neely-Boie is explaining how her daughter Leora ended up with those tragic burns at the famous national park. The mother and daughter are from Rhode Island and decided to hike in the area near Old Faithful geyser with some friends on Thursday. Leora had actually been working in housekeeping at Yellowstone National Park since August.

Woman Suffers Severe Burns at Yellowstone National Park

Neely-Boie told NBC 10 that Leora had gotten cold during the hike and wanted to return to the car. She made the trek back by herself.

“She took a wrong turn and her phone died. It was getting dark. She got lost,” Neely-Boi said. Her daughter was not at all prepared to trek through the area as it was slowly getting dark out. With no flashlight and no one else to help her, she accidentally wandered into one of the park’s hydrothermal areas.

That’s when everything took a really disastrous downhill path.

“When she stepped down, the ground beneath her cracked and she fell … Her hands got the worst of it. Somehow, she got up and started running. She didn’t know where she was going because it was pitch black,” the mother shared.

That area Leora fell into was filled with scalding water. She now has burns scattered across 5% of her body and is still actively recovering in the ICU. The Great Fountain Geyser is one of more than 10,000 hydrothermal areas in Yellowstone. There are other hot springs, geysers, mudpots, and fumaroles scattered all across the area.

Recovery Process and Abundance of Hydrothermal Areas

Now, the young woman had serious burns and was left trying to get back on a path and around other people. She ended up stumbling upon a road. Luckily, the person that found her was a park ranger then called for an ambulance to help her. From there, she was carried via helicopter and taken into surgery.

The full extent of her injuries is unclear. The mother spoke to her daughter on the phone only briefly. NPS continues to investigate the situation and Leora continues to heal in the hospital. It is certainly going to be a long road to recovery.

Yellowstone is in bear territory and full of wildlife threats or other ways to die. However, the most abundant threat is the near-boiling hydrothermal waters all around. Some of these waters are clearly visible due to different surface features, but not all. The very fragile ground is hiding hot water right below the surface.

It is essential at Yellowstone to stay in the designated trails for this exact reason.