David Allen Kirwan – The man who died after jumping into a hot spring!

David Allen Kirwan – The man who died after jumping into a hot spring! 5

It was a pleasant morning on July 20, 1981, when a 24-year-old guy named David Allen Kirwan, from La Cañada Flintridge was driving through Yellowstone’s Fountain Paint Pot thermal area in Wyoming. He went there with his friend Ronald Ratliff and Ratliff’s dog Moosie. At that time, they had no idea that they were soon going to encounter the most horrific incident of their life.

David Allen Kirwan – The man who died after jumping into a hot spring! 6
Yellowstone’s Fountain Paint Pot

At the mid of the day after reaching the destination point, they parked their truck and went out for exploring the springs region. Eventually, as they walked away a little distance from their truck, in all of sudden, their dog Moosie escaped from the truck and ran towards, only to jump into the nearby Celestine Pool ― a thermal spring of which water temperature is always measured at above 200°F ― then began to yelping.

They rushed over to the pool to aid their dog in trouble, and Kirwan’s attitude was showing like he was about to go into the hot spring after it. According to the seers, several people including Ratliff tried to warn Kirwan by yelling at him not to jump in the water. But he shouted with unrest, “Like hell I won’t!”, then he took his two steps into the pool and shortly dove his head-first into the boiling spring!

Kirwan swam and reached to the dog and attempted to take it to shore; after that, he disappeared underwater. After letting go of the dog, he tried to climb himself out of the spring. Ratliff helped to pull him out, resulting in severe burns to his feet. While the other bystanders led Kirwan to a nearby open-place, trying to provide him with some comfort until the ambulance would come. At that time, he was reportedly muttering, “That was stupid. How bad am I? That was a stupid thing I did.”

Kirwan was indeed in a very bad appearance. His eyes were whitish and blind, and his hair was dropping itself. When a park visitor tried to remove one of his shoes, his skin ― which had already started to peel off everywhere ― had come off with it. He underwent a third-degree burn to 100% of his body. After spending some distressful hours, the next morning David Kirwan died at a Salt Lake City hospital. Moosie also did not survive. Her body was never recovered from the pool.


  1. I know it sounds a bit cruel, and Kirwan’s death would have been utterly horrific, but that is Darwin’s theory of natural selection in action.

    1. I understand that, colloquially, we use this phrase to describe people dying in foolish, preventable ways, but it’s not exactly accurate. Darwin’s theory of natural selection acts on populations, not individuals. It’s a construct of gene fitness, not accounting for human choice. I get it though. Darwin Award and all that. It’s a great read.

      1. Bless you heart and soul for your take on this atrociously framed article. I have a migraine after having made an attempt to read, reread, re-reread, comprehend and re-comprehend this agonizing, (no pun intended), “article”. Yes, it’s too bad that they opted to go against the grain and attempt to find their own little haven. Its awful the fella, well, disolved into the spring. It’s awful his sis had to witness his…boiling? BUT!!! Could have beem totally avoidable by simply not being a complete and total moron. No sympathy for him. All the sympathy for his family. Anywho, cheers to ya.

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