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08th Apr 2024

Man who jumped into boiling hot spring to save his dog had one of the worst deaths of all time

Nina McLaughlin

A man suffered one of the worst deaths imaginable after jumping into a boiling hot spring

Back in 1981, David Alan Kirwan was walking through Yellowstone National Park when his dog Moosie dived into a hot spring.

The 24-year-old jumped to action, and he followed his pet into the Celestine Spring in order to rescue the mixed-breed boxer.

He took a couple steps towards the spring, and then dove headfirst into the boiling waters.

Celestine Spring is known to reach temperatures of up to 93C (200F), and so understandably from here things started to go wrong.

Man who jumped into boiling hot spring to save his dog had one of the worst deaths of all time.

Kirwan attempted to swim to grab his dog, but fell under the water after trying to bring him to shore.

Ronald Ratliff, who was with Kirwan on their walk, managed to help his friend out of the water, but suffered second degree burns on his feet as a result.

Kirwan, however, had fared much worse.

His time in the hot spring waters left him blind and his skin had turned white. When a park warden tried to remove his shoes, his skin came off with them.

As Kirwan emerged from the water, witnesses heard him say: “That was stupid. How bad am I? That was a stupid thing I did.”

He suffered third-degree burns on 100% of his body and died the next day.

“He liked dogs and when the dog went in, his friend told him not to go in (after her), but David went in,” James Kirwan said of his son.

Another man who died in Yellowstone was Colin Scott who went looking for a place to ‘hot pot’ which is taking a dip in the hot springs.

While attempting to test the temperature of one particular spring, Scott slipped and fell in.

His body was discovered the following day, floating in the water, however when it was found the water’s temperature had risen to boiling point, causing emergency services to abandon their recovery efforts.

When they returned the following day, Scott’s body had dissolved leaving nothing behind other than his wallet and flip flops.

The incident report noted: “The consensus among the rescue/recovery team was that the extreme heat of the hot spring, coupled with its acidic nature, dissolved the remains.”

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