A man died due to burns sustained at the Burning Man Festival's signature ceremony. 41-year-old Joel Mitchell rushed past rows of security to enter the massive fire that was built for the festival’s signature ceremony. The burns that he suffered from the incident were serious enough to leave him dead within a few hours. Mitchell went past two layers of security personnel to enter the fire that was set on a wooden effigy at the festival.

What is the fest about?

It is a music event held in the Black Rock Desert, which is nearly 100 miles north of Reno. Currently, more than 70,000 people are attending this music and art festival.

The 9-day event usually ends with the authorities setting a 40-foot wooden effigy to flames, which is considered a symbol of rebirth. The burning of the wooden effigy is followed by the burning of the temple which will indicate the wrapping up of activities on September 4.

Man dies of burns

Jerry Allen, the sheriff of Pershing County in Nevada has stated that an estimated 50,000 might have been present at the venue when the fire-fighters pulled out Mitchell form the blaze. Subsequently, the personnel airlifted the victim to California's UC Davis Burn Center. Here the victim was treated for severe burns, before he succumbed to his injuries on Sunday, September 3. While doctors state that Mitchell was intoxicated due to alcohol consumption when he entered the fire, the toxicology report is due.

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Allen said to the media that the police are still unclear whether, this attempt made by Mitchell was intentional or under the influence of drugs. The man was a resident of Oklahoma and an American citizen. However, he lived with his wife in Switzerland. Burning Man festival authorities stated that burns have been canceled throughout noon on September 3. The festival will proceed directly to its signature event i.e. temple burn, which happen at 8 p.m. and will mark the end of the 9-day fest.

Rescue attempts obstructed due to burning structure falling

The sheriff’s office stated that the rescue attempts were obstructed as a part of the burning structure had started falling while the rescuers were trying to pull out Mitchell. To maintain rescuer safety, the rescue personnel were forced to leave Mitchell in the blaze and allow the structure to fall before they could enter and extract his body from the fire. Furthermore, the investigators were also facing a difficult time to collect information about the incident as the visitors had already started to go home. However, this is not the first time such an incident has taken place, although none of the previous ones ended with someone’s death. Attendees in the past have tried to run into the flames but were always stopped before serious harm was inflicted.