Authorities investigate one death at Burning Man festival as flooding strands thousands


Authorities in Nevada are investigating a death after a storm hit the Black Rock Desert, in northern Nevada. This left thousands of Burning Man attendees stranded. The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that it was investigating one death. However, they did not reveal the identity of the deceased or the suspected cause, according to The Associated Press. The Burning Man Project shared a statement with The Hill that confirmed the death of a man on Friday. The organizers said the cause of death was not weather-related. Their emergency services received a request for service, and they were unable to revive the man. The amount of rainfall in Reno is higher than the 0.21 inch average for September. Reno is located 141 miles from the festival. The heavy rains prompted warnings to shelter in place for festivalgoers. The festival organizers sent out a message at 9 am Sunday morning, warning festivalgoers not to drive their vehicles. Burning Man Project released a statement that said “Some vehicles with four-wheel-drive (four-wheel-drive) and all-terrain tire are able navigate the mud, and are successfully departing.” We are seeing that most vehicles trying to leave get stuck in the muddy sludge, which is preventing everyone from completing their Exodus. Please DO NOT drive during this time.”

The word “exodus”, which refers to the festival’s end and exit, is used. Nathan Carmichael, of the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office, told CNN on Sunday morning that there were a little over 70,000 people still stranded Saturday. He told CNN that some people left by walking away, but most RVs remained in place. The annual counterculture festival attracts around 80,000 musicians, artists and activists to Black Rock Desert north of Reno in Nevada. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced that the entrance would be closed until the end of the event on Monday. The “Man Burn” event, which was scheduled to take place Saturday night, was postponed until Sunday due to rainy and muddy conditions. The organizers stated that the rainy, muddy conditions as well as “the inability to move heavy machinery and fire safety on site” further delayed the event until Monday night.

A White House spokesperson said that President Biden had been briefed about the situation, and administration officials were in contact with state and local officials. Biden told reporters at Rehoboth, Delaware, that festival-goers should listen to the local officials. The Associated Press contributed this report.

Updated 10:55 PM.

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