Yellowstone National Park's largest natural hot spring—the third-biggest in the world—may be all kinds of screwed-up thanks to the crappy stick-and-rudder skills of a tourist who crashed a photo-taking drone into the "geothermal feature," the park said Wednesday.
It was not clear if the drone that crashed Grand Prismatic Spring on Saturday and sank into its depths would damage the geothermal feature, park spokesman Al Nash said, and officials were still trying to decide whether to remove it.
"What we have to determine is whether the presence of this radio-controlled recreational aircraft poses a threat to that unique resource," Nash said of the Grand Prismatic, the third-largest hot spring in the world and a top attraction for the roughly 3 million visitors who flock to Yellowstone each year.
The park is puzzling over how to find the drone and extract it without damaging the hot spring, which is 370 feet in diameter, more than 121 feet deep and known for its brilliant colors caused by bacteria and minerals in the water.
Apparently it just be rainin' drones all up in America. Despite the National Park Service's ban of unmanned aerial vehicles in June, one has been crashed into a Yellowstone marina this summer and "national parks in the U.S. West are reporting a sharp rise in the number of drones buzzing bison and boaters," Reuters writes.
It wasn't immediately clear whether the Grand Prismatic Spring-crasher had gotten any photos, or whether the Navy had been in touch to offer the hapless UAV pilot a job yet.
[Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons]