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Man Dies At His 1st Burning Man After Running Into Fire

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A festival goer at this year’s Burning Man Festival died after running into the flames of a burning effigy Saturday night.

A tragic death at this year’s Burning Man Festival. 41 year-old man died after he ran into a burning effigy Saturday night at the annual Burning Man Festival on the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Aaron Joel Mitchell broke through a safety barrier during Saturday evening’s burn and investigators aren’t sure if he ran into the flames or fell running from security guards after he broke through two levels of security. He was airlifted to a hospital and pronounced dead Sunday morning. Mitchell’s family said this was his first Burning Man festival and that the man was an Oklahoma native, but had been living in Switzerland with his wife. Authorities are waiting for toxicology results to come back but witnesses say that the man was not drunk.

Nevada Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen told the public they don’t know if he ran intentionally into the flames or was on some sort of drugs. Allen’s death is the only fatality that the Sheriff’s department was aware of during Burning Man that involved the fire. Festival organizers were able to convince the Bureau of Land Management to allow the annual festival closer of the Temple Burn to happen, after the addition of 600 security guards and a security fence around the burn.

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