Update September 2, 2014: Yellowstone Park officials have filed criminal charges against the alleged pilot, Theodorus Van Vliet, of the drone that crashed into the Grand Prismatic Spring on August 2nd. Van Vliet, who is of the Netherlands, is cooperating with the ongoing investigation, according to a statement released Friday by the park’s public affairs office, and faces up to $5,000 in fines and/or six months in jail if found guilty.
Park staff members are still trying to determine if the drone that crashed into Grand Prismatic Springs is a threat to the iconic pool, which ranges from 200–330 feet in diameter and is more than 120 feet deep. Grand Prismatic’s picturesque bands of colors are the result of various forms of microbial organisms residing in different temperature zones within the hot spring.
Attempts to locate the device both from the ground and from a manned helicopter overflight have turned up possible areas in the pool where the unit may have come to rest. If its location can be confirmed, park staff members will determine if there is a way to safely remove the device without damaging the thermal feature.
Saturday, August 2, 2014: A tourist accidentally crashed a camera drone into the huge Grand Prismatic Hot Springs pool. Days later, park staff are still trying to figure out how to retrieve it and are wondering if it will damage the pool. The plastic body and the lead from the battery could alter the chemistry of the pool which could change its brilliant color.
Part of the problem is that the pool is so large (160 feet deep and 300 feet in diameter). The rangers cannot see the drone from the boardwalks. Could another drone be used in finding the drowned drone, and maybe be used to retrieve it?
Read about the drone incident and other things that have been tossed into Yellowstone’s thermal features: www.yellowstonepark.com/2014/03/this-is-yellowstone-things-stuffed-down-a-geyser/