Aaron Joel Mitchell, 41, an American living in Switzerland, ran into the flames during the burning of giant wooden effigy

Authorities are investigating the death of a man who operated through cordons of security officers into a massive fire at the Burning Man festival.

Aaron Joel Mitchell, 41, transgressed through a two-layer security perimeter during the Man Burn ceremony in which a giant wooden effigy was set on fire late on Saturday night.

Jerry Allen, the sheriff of Pershing district in Nevada, calculated there were about 50,000 people present when the festival’s crew of firefighters pulled Mitchell out of the blaze. He was airlifted to the UC Davis hospital burn centre in California, but succumbed on Sunday morning. The sheriff said doctors corroborated Mitchell was not under the influence of alcohol, but a toxicology report is pending.

” We don’t know if it was intentional on his part or if it was just various kinds of induced by medications. We’re not sure of that yet ,” Allen said.

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.

Burning Man was indicated in a statement that it had cancelled some scheduled fires on Sunday but would go ahead with the 8p m temple burn, another signature event that signals the end of the nine-day festival. More than 70,000 people are attending the art and music celebration in the Black Rock desert, about 100 miles( 160 km) north of Reno.

Organisers, who were offering attorney on site, was indicated in a statement:” Now is a time for closeness, contact and community. Trauma needs processing. Promote calls, hugs, self-care, check-ins, and sleep .”

The festival culminates with the burning of a towering 12 m( 40 ft) effigy made of wood, a emblem of rebirth, which usually happens the Saturday before the Labor Day holiday. It is followed by the burning of the temple on Sunday and the festivals wrap up on Monday.

Attempts to rescue Mitchell were hampered because part of the structure was falling while emergency faculty were trying to reach him, the sheriff’s office said.” Rescuers had to leave him to allow the structure to autumn and provided under rescuer security before they could go back into the flames to extract Aaron from the rubble ,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Investigators were having difficulties get datum because festivalgoers were leaving the site, the law enforcement agency said.

Attendees have tried before to run into the flames while the man is burning and there have been reported injuries from people strolling over the hot coals to try to get a piece of the spectacle as a token. Allen said the organisers had tried to address the problem with a human-chain of security staff and this was the first time someone had transgressed through.

” People try to run into the fire as part of their spiritual portion of Burning Man ,” Allen said.” The implication 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 tenets of radical self-expression .”

Burning Man- known for its eclectic artwork, offbeat theme camps, concerts and other amusement- began in San Francisco before moving to Nevada in 1990. Over the years as the event grew in popularity, demises and crime have been reported, ranging from vehicle crashes to drug use.

In 2014, a human in Utah succumbed after jumping into a huge ceremonial bonfire at a similar event. It was analyse as a suicide.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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