Jun 15, 2017

Guide dies during kayak trip on Yellowstone Lake

A 23-year-old kayak guide died in Yellowstone Lake on Wednesday while trying to rescue a client who had capsized.

Guide Timothy Hayden Ryan Conant, of Salt Lake City, was part of a group that included nine clients and three guides, Yellowstone National Park officials said in a Thursday news release. The group was in the West Thumb area of the lake, north of Grant Village.

The West Thumb area of Yellowstone National Park is shown in 2014. Photo courtesy Reuben Francis Cornel under CC BY SA
The kayaking client Conant attempted to save was rescued by the other guides and brought to shore before rangers arrived on scene to help Conant. The client was transported to the park clinic and treated for hypothermia, Yellowstone officials said.

Park rangers, who responded in a patrol boat, found Conant floating in the water. Attempts to revive him using CPR were unsuccessful, park officials said. A medical helicopter was summoned to Grant Village, but Conant was pronounced dead before take off.

“Our hearts are with the Conant family after this terrible loss,” Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said in a statement.

Park officials said Conant worked as a guide for Oars, a company based out of Angel Camp, California. Oars has offered non-motorized boat tours in Yellowstone since 1996. This was Conant’s first season working for the company as a guide, park officials said.

The average year-round temperature of the lake is 43 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, a person can survive in the water for only 20-30 minutes, Yellowstone officials said. They said Thursday that they are continuing to investigate the incident.

Conant’s death was the first in Yellowstone Lake since 1997, when two people died while canoeing. However, it was the second death in the park this month. On June 7, a 53-year-old Illinois man, Jeff Murphy, died in an apparent fall on Turkey Pen Peak near Yellowstone’s North Entrance.

Additionally, on Tuesday night, park officials said a 21-year-old North Carolina man, Gervais Dylan Gatete, suffered severe burns after falling in a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin. Gatete was an employee for Xanterra Parks and Resorts, a Yellowstone concessionaire.

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