Burning Man participant dies after running into iconic fire ceremony
Aaron Mitchell, 41, rushed past security officers into a massive fire at the Burning Man festival's signature ceremony, suffering burns that killed him just hours later.
BLACK ROCK DESERT, NEVADA — Nevada authorities are investigating the death of a Burning Man participant who died hours after rushing past security and into the festival's iconic fire ceremony Saturday night.
According to the Burning Man website, the nine-day Burning Man festival ends with the burning of a towering 40-foot effigy made of wood. Past attendees have tried to run into the flames as a symbol of rebirth.
This year, a festival-goer named Aaron Mitchell, 41, broke through two levels of security guards protecting the area where the burn was taking place. Help was delayed as rescue teams had to avoid being hit by portions of the burning structure falling to the ground, but firefighters eventually pulled Mitchell out of the blaze.
Mitchell was immediately airlifted to the nearest burn centre at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California, where he was pronounced dead Sunday morning. The medical staff who treated Mitchell said he was not under the influence of alcohol, although a toxicology report is pending.
After the unfortunate incident, the Burning Man organization canceled scheduled burns through noon Sunday, but decided to proceed with the scheduled Temple burn Sunday evening.
The organization has also made emotional support teams available for people who need counseling after the incident.
According to the Pershing County Sheriff, Mitchell was a 41-year-old US national who lived in Switzerland with his wife.
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