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One Dead in Yellowstone Hot Spring

August 23, 2000

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) _ A park concession employee died Tuesday and two others were in critical condition after falling into a 178-degree hot spring.

A 20-year-old woman died about 15 hours after the accident late Monday. Sara Hulphers, of Oroville, Wash., died from complications from very severe burns, said Chris Nelson, spokesman for University of Utah’s Intermountain Burn Center in Salt Lake City.

The accident occurred in the Lower Geyser Basin near Old Faithful, roughly in the middle of the park.

According to park spokeswoman Cheryl Matthews, the three were returning from a swim in the Firehole River when friends heard their cries between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Monday. The three fell into Cavern Spring, a 178-degree pool about 10 feet deep, she said.

Hulphers had third-degree burns over her entire body. Tyler Montague, 18, had second- and third-degree burns over 97 percent of his body, and Lance Buchi, 18, had third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body, park officials said.

Matthews said some of the friends stayed with Hulphers while others helped Montague and Buchi walk to their cars about a quarter of a mile away.

``It’s pretty remarkable that they walked these two young men out, which took some time because they were pretty hurt,″ she said.

No one saw what caused the accident but hot springs are often surrounded by thin, fragile crusts that break easily, she said.

All three worked in the Old Faithful area; Hulphers in the Old Faithful Inn employee dining room, Buchi in housekeeping at the inn and Tyler at the Old Faithful Lodge kitchen.

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