Two Die in Separate Yellowstone Accidents

A hiker and a fisherman passed away this week after two separate Yellowstone accidents.Searchers Thursday morning discovered the body of a young man who went on a solo hike to a mountain peak in northwest Yellowstone Tuesday and failed to return.

The last contact with 23-year old Joseph Austin Parker was a cell phone call he made to friends about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Parker told his friends he was below the summit of Electric Peak, and because of nearby lightning, he was starting to descend the mountain.

Parker was reported missing by a friend about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and a search was initiated by the National Park Service.

An aerial search by both airplane and helicopter and ground search by teams in 4-wheel drive vehicles, on horseback, and on foot did not turn up any clues to Parker’s whereabouts Wednesday.

Parker’s body was discovered below the summit of Electric Peak shortly after the search resumed Thursday morning.  The cause of death is under investigation.

Originally from Valdosta, Georgia, Parker was working at a local Gardiner, Montana business.

Electric Peak is a nearly 11,000-foot mountain in the Gallatin Range, located west of Gardiner, Montana in the northwest portion of Yellowstone National Park.

The second death involved a 73-year-old man from southwest Montana fishing in the Yellowstone River near the Nez Perce picnic ground in the Mud Volcano area yesterday. Witnesses say he lost his footing in chest-deep water while attempting to cross the river and was carried approximately 200 yards downstream in the swift current.

Another visitor ran downstream and pulled the unconscious man ashore and initiated CPR.  Park rangers and medical staff were notified and responded but were unable to revive the victim.

The cause of death remains under investigation, and his name is being withheld pending completion of notification of family members.

Image of Electric Peak courtesy National Park Service.

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