Local News

A man who sprinted into Burning Man's iconic fire has died from his injuries

Warning: graphic content.

By Kate Wagner
Man who ran into Burning Man's iconic fire has died

A reveller at the Burning Man festival has died after sprinting into the iconic towering effigy that gives the festival its name.

The annual arts festival attracts 70,000 to the remote Black Rock Desert and culminates with the burning of a wooden statue, which stood at 40ft tall this year.

Photos, taken by Reuters, capture the long-haired male sprinting full-force towards the fire, dodging emergency personnel before tripping and falling into the flames.

He was later identified as 41-year-old Aaron Mitchell as firefighters dragged him from the inferno and airlifted to him to hospital, where he died later that night.

Following the death, authorities revealed Mitchell had intended to take his own life, telling other festival-goers of his plans.

It’s far from the first death at the isolated festival. After multiple deaths involving cars, including deadly games of chicken and campers driven over in the night, heavy restrictions were placed on vehicles at the gathering.

Despite the restrictions, in 2003, Katherine Lampman attempted to jump from a moving car to get a better look at the Temple of Honour – another construction that is set burnt to the ground at the festival’s end. She unfortunately fell backwards on landing and under the wheels of the car, according to witnesses.

In 2007, a man who hung himself was tragically mistaken for an art installation and left unreported for several days. One witness said, “It looked like someone was playing a joke with a dummy”.

Known for its astounding art installations, the festival hosts makeshifts vehicles. In 2014, 29-year-old Alicia Cipicchio attempted to hitch a ride on The Shagadelica – one such car covered completely in fur. Unfortunately, she misjudged her efforts and was hit by the car instead.