Man rescued from the flames at Burning Man festival has died

A Nevada sheriff says the man who ran into the flames at the Burning Man festival’s signature burning ceremony has died.

Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen identified the man as Aaron Joel Mitchell, 41, who died Sunday morning at the UC Davis hospital burn centre in California.

Allen said the man ran through two-layers of security officers at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday during the Man Burn event at the counterculture festival. The sheriff says Mitchell was rescued by firefighters and then airlifted to the hospital.

Allen said doctors confirmed Mitchell wasn’t under the influence of alcohol but that a toxicology report is pending as part of the investigation.

About 70,000 people are attending the Burning Man art and music celebration in the Black Rock Desert, about 100 miles (161 kilometres) north of Reno.

The nine-day festival culminates with the burning of a towering 40-foot effigy made of wood, a symbol of rebirth, which usually happens the Saturday before the Labor Day holiday. It’s followed by the burning of a temple on Sunday. This year’s festival ends on Monday.

Attendees have tried before to run into the flames while the man is burning and there have been reported injuries from people trying to get a piece of the spectacle as a token and going through the hot coals.

Allen said it’s a problem that the organizers have tried to contain by having their own rangers stage a human-chain to prevent people from accessing the fire. Allen said that this is the first time someone has gotten through like this and the only fatality that he’s aware of in his 15 years with the county.

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

A Burning Man spokesman didn’t immediately respond when asked for comment.

Just Posted

Relatives of murdered family critical of killers’ sentences

Open letter to sentencing judge criticizes ruling allowing killers to apply for parole in 25 years

City rolling out Green Carts

Green Carts used for organics, such as yard waste, food scraps and pet waste

New teaching standards applauded

New code of standards affecting teachers, principals and superintendents to kick in Sept. 1, 2019

UPDATED: Agriculture minister speaks to cattle producers

2018 Alberta Beef Industry Conference underway in Red Deer

Updated: Red Deer gets WHL Bantam Draft and Awards Banquet

WHL will holds its draft and awards ceremony in Red Deer for next three years

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Twenty years later, figure skating’s most famous backflip remains amazing (and illegal)

Figure skating involves spins, jumps, twizzles and a whole host of other… Continue reading

You don’t need to chop like a TV chef to get the job done

Standing in line at the emergency room, makeshift bandage around my finger,… Continue reading

Seychelles swaps debt for groundbreaking marine protection

CURIEUSE ISLAND, Seychelles — With deep blue waters, white sand beaches and… Continue reading

Trump endorses raising minimum age to 21 for more weapons

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump endorsed stricter gun-control measures Thursday, including raising… Continue reading

Red Deer blood clinic in need of 600 donors

Aunt encourages Central Albertans to donate blood after losing nephew

Court considers banning diesel cars in German cities

BERLIN — A German court began considering Thursday whether authorities should ban… Continue reading

US women beat Canada in Olympic hockey; Gisin tops Shiffrin

PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of — A tense shootout, a dazzling deke and… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month