BLACK ROCK DESERT, Nevada (CelebrityAccess) — One person is dead and another critically injured in two separate incidents at this year's Burning Man Festival.
According to ABC News, festival attendee, Aaron Joel Mitchell, died Sunday morning after suffering serious burns after running into a fire at the festival. Mitchell, who was 41, reportedly ran through two perimeters of security personnel and into the blaze during the burning of a large wooden statue that serves as the festival's focal point. The Pershing County Sheriff's said that rescuers were forced to abandon efforts to save Mitchell for a time in order to "allow the structure to fall and provide for rescuer safety before they could go back into the flames to extract Aaron from the debris."
Mitchell was treated on site and later airlifted to UC Davis Firefighters Burn Institute Regional Burn Center hospital but succumbed to his burns on Sunday. Police said that Mitchell was not under the effects of alcohol but noted that a further toxicology screening was pending.
Following the death, several other 'burn events' were canceled, but the festival's other major burn ritual, the Temple Burn, went ahead on Sunday night, albeit with additional security.
In a statement posted to their website, Burning Man organizers wrote: "We’re aware this incident has affected not only those who responded immediately to 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."
In a separate incident, an attendee was struck by a car while sleeping in a tent on Monday night. Pershing County Sheriff's office told Rolling Stone that the attendee was air-lifted from the festival and is in critical condition.