Burning Man Attendee Runs into Fire at Festival, Dies

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Burning man attendee, Aaron Joel Mitchell, ran into the flames and broke threw two layers of security during the annual Man Burning ceremony at the Burning Man Festival. During the Man Burning ceremony, a giant wooden effigy was set on fire late on Saturday night and symbolized the culmination of the nine-day festival.

More than 70,000 people attended this art and music celebration, which takes place in Black Rock desert. Also, according to the sherif of Pershing County in Nevada, Jerry Allen, 50,000 people were there when Mitchell ran into the burning effigy. Though Mitchell was pulled out of the flames by a team of firefighters and rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, he died on Sunday morning.

Apparently, Mitchell wasn’t intoxicated, according to doctors. However, the toxicology report is still pending at this point in time. Allen wasn’t sure if this was intentional or if drugs were involved. “We don’t know if it was intentional on his part or if it was just kind of induced by drugs. We’re not sure of that yet,” Allen said.

The Burning Man festival comes to a climax with the Man Burning ceremony, in which a towering 12m (40ft) effigy is burned. The effigy is made of wood and symbolizes rebirth happening the Saturday before labor day. On the following day, typically a Sunday, there is a burning of a temple and the festival finally ends the day after.

“People try to run into the fire as part of their spiritual portion of Burning Man. The significance of the man burning, it’s just kind of a rebirth, they burn the man to the ground,” he said. “A new chapter has started. It’s part of their tenets of radical self-expression.”

Though there have been several injuries and reports of death after attending Burning Man, this was the first successful attempt during the Man Burning ceremony.

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