Hiker suffers burns after jumping into Idaho hot springs to save dogs

Both of the dogs were killed

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A hiker has suffered severe burns and his two pet dogs have died, after the animals jumped into a hot spring in Idaho and the owner attempted to save them.

The man, who has not been publicly named, was walking his dogs in the Panther Creek Hot Springs – usually warm enough for human bathing - when they leaped into the water.

One animal died instantly at the Salmon-Challis National Forest on Thursday, prompting the owner to attempt to rescue the other, according to the authorities.

The second later died from its injures after it was rushed to a vet for emergency treatment.

A US Forest Service firefighting crew who were in the area at the tended to the man, and arranged for a medical helicopter to fly him to a hospital for treatment of severe burns, according to police.

Lemhi County Chief Deputy Sheriff Steve Penner said that forest visitors are advised to test the temperature of hot springs before entering the water, but that the injured hiker acted on instinct in an attempt to save his dog.

Panther Creek Hot Springs is usually a popular bathing spot which attracts dozens of visitors each year, thanks to its location around 50 miles (80km) northwest of the tourist town of Salmon in east-central Idaho.

However, the temperature of the water has risen dramatically, possibly due to drought conditions that have staved off flow of cool water that normally mixes with the springs' geothermally heated groundwater, forest spokeswoman Amy Baumer said.


Ken Gebhardt, a district ranger, said that forest managers do not believe that a similar incident has ever taken place in the 107-year history of the Salmon-Challis.