Yellowstone Kayak Guide Timothy Hayden Ryan Conant Dies While Saving Client
Timothy Hayden Ryan Conant, a kayak guide working at Yellowstone National Park’s Yellowstone Lake, died on Wednesday while trying to rescue a client who had capsized. It was Contant’s first season on the job. He was 23-years-old.
Contant was among three other guides who set out with a group of nine clients on Wednesday. While the incident is under investigation, it appears as though Contant left his kayak to rescue the capsized client. After receiving the dispatch call, park rangers responded to the scene via a patrol boat and found Contant unresponsive in the lake.
Rangers immediately performed CPR on Contant and transported him to the helipad, approximately 1/2 mile off of the dock – Contant was found about 400 yards from the dock. He was pronounced dead before getting on to the Life Flight helicopter.
The client was saved by the other guides and was taken to the park clinic to be treated for hypothermia.
Temperatures in the Yellowstone Lake average around 43 degrees Fahrenheit year round but were most likely cooler during the incident because waters are still cold from the winter. According to the Yellowstone National Park’s press release on the incident, survival time in water at those temperatures is estimated to be only 20 to 30 minutes.
“Our hearts are with the Contant family after this terrible loss,” Dan Wenk, superintendent of Yellowstone National Park said in the statement.
Contant was originally from Anchorage, Alaska, but had moved to Utah to attend college. He worked for O.A.R.S., a company that has offered non-motorized boat tours in the lake since 1996. The company commended Contant’s heroic actions attempting save the 62-year-old client.
“Right now all of our efforts are really focused on making sure we assist Tim’s family and friends in any way we can,” Steve Markle, a spokesperson for O.A.R.S. told reporters.
Since 1894, two years after the opening of Yellowstone National Park, the first national park in the U.S., there have been 41 deaths in Yellowstone Lake. The most recent was in 1997 when two people died while canoeing. The lake, with a surface area of 132 square miles, is the largest natural freshwater lake in the United States 7,000 above sea level.
Contant’s death was the second in the park this month – a man was found dead on June 9, after appearing to have experienced a fatal fall. In an unrelated incident on Tuesday, a 23-year-old man was severely burned after falling into a hot spring in Yellowstone Park. He is currently recovering at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.