Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen is reporting that 41-year-old Aaron Joel Mitchell ran through 2 levels of human-chains of security officers and into the flames of a 40-foot-tall burning effigy (the burning man) at 10:30pm on Saturday night at the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert, NV.
Allen reports that firefighters rescued Mitchell who was air evacuated to UC Davis burn center in Davis, CA.
Mitchell died at UC Davis at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday due to injuries received in the fire.
It’s being reported by authorities that Mitchell was not under the influence of alcohol. A full toxicology screening is underway, according the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office.
Rangers who work the Burning Man Festival are informed to look out for 3 kinds of people who may rush the fire:
- Attention seekers
- People on drugs who don’t understand the dangers
- Suicidal people
“We’re aware this incident has affected not only those who responded immediately on the scene, but also those who witnessed it, and our Black Rock City community more broadly. We are working to make resources available to those affected.“Now is a time for closeness, contact and community. Trauma needs processing. Promote calls, hugs, self-care, check-ins, and sleep.” – Burning Man organizers via their website, today
An investigation by local and federal authorities is currently underway.
Thousands of Burning Man attendees were watching as the man ran into the flames.
Around 70,000 people attended Burning Man this year.
Burning Man is located in the Black Rock Desert, NV about 100 miles north of Reno, NV and Lake Tahoe, CA/NV.
This event is very popular amongst Lake Tahoe area residents.
Burning Man lasts 9 days and culminates with the burning of a 40-foot effigy (the burning man) made of wood.
Burning Man organizers report that they still plan to burn the Temple today, Sunday, at 8pm PST.
Burning Man ends Monday.