Horror at Burning Man festival as man dies after running into flames

A Burning Man participant evades a firefighter and runs into the flames of the "Man Burn".
JIM BOURG/REUTERS

A Burning Man participant evades a firefighter and runs into the flames of the "Man Burn".

The images in the story below could upset some readers

A man has died after sprinting into the flames at the Burning Man festival in the US, horrifying onlookers and security who tried to stop him.

To get to the fire, the man had to run through a human-chain of security officers. Images show a firefighter trying to catch the man before he ran into the burning 15m-tall effigy, called The Man. The inferno is one of the highlights of the festival, which takes place in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, drawing crowds of 70,000 from all over the world.

The 15-metre-tall effigy of "The Man", burnt at the culmination of the festival.
JIM BOURG/REUTERS

The 15-metre-tall effigy of "The Man", burnt at the culmination of the festival.

Organisers issued a statement saying: "Approximately 10.30pm Saturday evening [5.30pm Sunday, NZ time], a male participant at the annual Burning Man event in Northern Nevada broke through a safety perimeter and into into a fire. Black Rock City fire personnel rescued him from the fire."

"The individual was treated on scene, transported to the on-site medical facility and airlifted to a burn center [sic]."

On Monday morning (NZ time), Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen said the man, 41-year-old Aaron Joel Mitchell, had died from his injuries.

 

Mitchell died hours later at the UC Davis hospital burn centre in California.

Allen said doctors confirmed Mitchell wasn't under the influence of alcohol, but a toxicology report was pending.

Mitchell was a US citizen who had a home in Oklahoma but apparently was living in Switzerland with his wife, the sheriff's office said.

Festival organisers are also offering emotional support counselling on site, saying in a statement: "Now is a time for closeness, contact and community. Trauma needs processing. Promote calls, hugs, self-care, check-ins, and sleep."

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There have been injuries reported before but Allen said this was the first fatality he was aware of in his 15 years with the county.

Investigators are having a hard time getting information as festival-goers leave the site for their homes, the law enforcement agency said.

The man was rescued from the flames by firefighters.
JIM BOURG/REUTERS

The man was rescued from the flames by firefighters.

The nine-day Burning Man event culminates with the burning of the towering effigy made of wood. Attendees in the past have tried to run into the flames as a symbol of rebirth.

IMAGES MAY DISTURB:

A firefighter wades into the flames to try to reach the man.
JIM BOURG/REUTERS

A firefighter wades into the flames to try to reach the man.

A firefighter watches as a Burning Man participant runs straight into the inferno.
JIM BOURG/REUTERS

A firefighter watches as a Burning Man participant runs straight into the inferno.

A firefighter rescues the man from the flames.
JIM BOUNDS/REUTERS

A firefighter rescues the man from the flames.

Firefighters eventually managed to pull the man from the fire. He was flown to a burns unit for treatment.
JIM BOURG/REUTERS

Firefighters eventually managed to pull the man from the fire. He was flown to a burns unit for treatment.

Emergency personnel help the man after pulling him from the fire.
JIM URQUHART/REUTERS

Emergency personnel help the man after pulling him from the fire.

The Man is engulfed in flames as approximately 70,000 people from all over the world watch on.
JIM URQUHART/REUTERS

The Man is engulfed in flames as approximately 70,000 people from all over the world watch on.

The effigy of "The Man" bursts into the flames at the "Man Burn" at the culmination of the annual Burning Man arts and ...
JIM BOURG/REUTERS

The effigy of "The Man" bursts into the flames at the "Man Burn" at the culmination of the annual Burning Man arts and music festival.

Black Rock City, a gathering of approximately 70,000 people that is created annually for the Burning Man arts and music ...
JIM BOURG/REUTERS

Black Rock City, a gathering of approximately 70,000 people that is created annually for the Burning Man arts and music festival, is seen in Nevada.

The Burning Man festival draws people from all over the world. Pictured, participants gather by the thousands in the ...
JIM BOURG/REUTERS

The Burning Man festival draws people from all over the world. Pictured, participants gather by the thousands in the middle of the open desert as the Playa Players Collective orchestra play Stravinsky's Rites of Spring in front of a huge art project called the Tree of Tenere.

 - Stuff

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