A man has died in the flames at Burning Man.
According to TMZ, 41-year-old Aaron Joel Mitchell succumbed to injuries on Sunday morning after he ran around a huge Burning Man statue.
The incident occurred when Mitchell, a US citizen visiting from Switzerland, ran around the festival's signature, massive, wooden figure—of a burning man— that was ablaze at the annual gathering in the desert in Nevada on Saturday.
According to Yahoo!, Mitchell broke through a two-layer security perimeter to get to the structure. Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen says that there was a crowd of about 50,000 people present when the man was taken out of the blaze by firefighters.
Part of the statue actually fell as rescuers tried to safely get Mitchell.
“Rescuers had to leave him 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,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. He was treated on-site but later airlifted him to a burn treatment center at UC Davis hospital in California. The sheriff said that doctors found that Mitchell wasn’t under the influence of alcohol. “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,” he said.
An official toxicology report is pending.
The Burning Man is a 40-foot effigy made of wood. It's burning is meant to be a symbol of rebirth.
Festival organizers canceled more burnings through noon on Sunday but proceeded with the 8 p.m. temple burn that closes the nine-day festival.
An investigation is ongoing. Cameras caught the horrific moment below: