Yellowstone Tourist Sentenced To 7 Days In Jail For “Dangerous” Incident Caught On Camera

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

A tourist visiting Yellowstone National Park recently made headlines after being sentenced to seven days in jail for trespassing into a hazardous geothermal area.

The incident occurred when 21-year-old Viktor Pyshniuk ventured off the designated boardwalk near the Steamboat Geyser. Disregarding warning signs, Pyshniuk climbed over a fence and approached within 15-20 feet of the steam vent.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Wyoming, a park employee observed this risky behavior and reported the trespass to Yellowstone National Park law enforcement. The Steamboat Geyser, known as the world’s tallest active geyser, is notorious for its unpredictably powerful eruptions, which can reach heights from 6 to 300 feet. Due to its erratic nature, it is considered extremely dangerous.

Photo source: Fox News

“While speaking with Pyshniuk, the officer showed him the signs posted throughout the area stating it is illegal to leave the boardwalk and explained that walking in a thermal area is very dangerous due to possible weak ground layer, the geothermal features of mud pots, heated steam and water, and all other dangers associated with walking in a heated, unpredictable geothermal area,” the press release stated.

Pyshniuk admitted to authorities that he had left the boardwalk to capture photographs, a decision that ultimately led to his legal troubles. In addition to the seven-day jail term, he was ordered to pay $1,550 in fines and fees and placed on two years of unsupervised release. Additionally, he received a two-year ban from Yellowstone National Park.

“Trespassing in closed, thermal areas of Yellowstone National Park is dangerous and harms the natural resource,” said Acting United States Attorney Eric Heimann. “In cases like this one where we have strong evidence showing a person has willfully disregarded signs and entered a closed, thermal area, federal prosecutors will seek significant penalties, including jail time.”

On June 4, Magistrate Judge Stephanie A. Hambrick handed down the sentence to Pyshniuk to deter both him and the public from wandering off the designated boardwalk in that area. She voiced concern that Pyshniuk’s actions might influence others, potentially causing significant harm to Yellowstone National Park.


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