Young Kayak Guide Dies Rescuing Client on Yellowstone Lake

A 23-year-old kayak guide died Wednesday, June 14 after trying to rescue a client who capsized on Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park.

According to a Yellowstone press release, Timothy Hayden Ryan Conant of Salt Lake City, Utah, died near the West Thumb area of Yellowstone Lake. Mr. Conant, a guide for Oars, based out of Angel Camp, California, was kayaking with nine clients and three guides.

According to the release, rangers swiftly responded after a call came into the dispatch center. Mr. Conant was pulled from the water into a patrol boat and given CPR immediately. He was later transported via ambulance to the Grant Village helipad. A Life Flight was called, but Mr. Conant was pronounced dead before liftoff.

This was Mr. Conant’s first season as a guide in Yellowstone National Park.

Rangers report the client who capsized was rescued by the other guides and kayakers. The client was later transported to a Yellowstone clinic and treated for hypothermia.

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

This is the first boating death in Yellowstone National Park since 1997, when two people died while canoeing. In total, according to the Yellowstone press release, there have been 41 deaths on Yellowstone Lake since 1894.

Although popular among boaters, canoers, and kayakers, Yellowstone Lake poses a host of challenges. Its waters are continually cold, owing to its high elevation; the average temperature is 43˚F. Officials estimate the average survival time (without rescue and proper medical treatment) is 20 to 30 minutes.

This tragic incident comes swiftly on the heels of another accident in Yellowstone. Yesterday, we reported a young man was severely burned in a hot spring while he and a group of friends/coworkers were taking a night walk near Fountain Flat Drive.

About Sean Reichard

Sean Reichard is the editor of Yellowstone Insider and author of Yellowstone Insider For Families 2017.

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