Death reported at Burning Man as torrential rains hit festival site, forcing attendees to go into ‘survival mode’

One death has been reported at the site of the Burning Man music and arts festival, where thousands of attendees have been forced to go into “survival mode” as torrential rains turned the Nevada desert into a treacherous mud pit, authorities said.

The death occurred “during this rain event,” the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office said, according to a KNSD report Saturday night.

But no further details, including the identity of the person or the apparent cause, were immediately released.

“As this death is still under investigation, no further information is available at this time,” authorities said in a statement.

The counterculture festival, held in the Black Rock Desert, was closed earlier Saturday due to inclement weather caused by the remnants of Hurricane Hilary.

More than 73,000 attendees were ordered to shelter in place, and the federal Bureau of Land Management, the public agency that manages the land where the event is held, told those still heading to the festival to “give turn around and go home.” .

Torrential rains have turned the Nevada desert into a treacherous muddy pit.NBC

“More rain is expected in the coming days and conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the beach,” officials said.

Earlier, organizers had told participants to conserve their food and water, and banned vehicles from the roads, as the Burners, as the participants are known, spent the night huddled in tents and packed RVs. earthen.

Photos and videos posted on social media Show attendees trudging through the muddy desert, some barefoot, others with shoes and clothing covered in mud, and others walking with bags protecting their shoes.

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Tents are seen covered to protect them from the rain as mud covers the ground at the Burning Man festival site in Black Rock, Nevada.More rain is expected in the coming days and conditions are not expected to improve.PAUL REDER via REUTERS

Participants are expected to provide their own food, water and shelter during the event, which ends Monday with a mass departure known as Exodus.

“I think it’s just a waiting game now,” assistant Max Spooner, seen walking across the field with a mattress strapped to his back, told USA TODAY. “Survival mode, here we come.”

Spooner told the newspaper he needed to trudge to his car and retrieve dry bedding after his tent got wet Friday night.

An aerial view of Black Rock City.More than 73,000 attendees were ordered to shelter in place.©2023 Maxar Technologies via AP
Washoe County Sheriff's Office.The death occurred “during this rain event,” authorities said. Washoe County Sheriff’s Office/AFP via Getty Images

Temperatures dropped to the 50s on the festival grounds, the outlet reported.

The storm also left many without cell phone service, the newspaper reported.

A Los Angeles-based doctor, who asked to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak to the media, told Insider that stranded Burners are at risk of contracting multiple diseases, including COVID-19.

Burner walking through the mud.A burner with plastic bags around his shoes trudges through the mud.NBC
Car stuck in the mud.Muddy conditions prevent vehicles from entering or leaving the beach.NBC

They are also likely to suffer from food poisoning and hygiene-related stomach viruses as essential cleaning products run out of stock.

“If it rains again, which will prevent people from using their vehicles for another three or four days, people will be stranded there and there will be a shortage of resources,” the doctor reportedly said.

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“Porta-potties will probably start to overflow, and that will mix with mud and rain, and possibly spread infectious diseases.”

Mud covers the ground at the Burning Man festival site.More rain could trap festival-goers for a few more days.PAUL REDER via REUTERS

“As the days go by and people realize that they are not going to have enough water to wash dishes, there will be many more sanitation and hygiene problems,” he added.

“So I think people may start to get a little more desperate and we may start to see people get sick if they don’t find a way to get out of there quickly.”

The botched event drew comparisons to the ill-fated 2017 Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, in which its organizer, Billy McFarland, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and using false documents to deceive investors with 26 millions of dollars.

Burner walking through the mud.A burner walks barefoot through the muddy desert. Instagram/@evi_airy

On Saturday, comedian Chris Rock and DJ Diplo walked six miles through mud to escape the disaster, eventually hitchhiking in the back of a fan’s van.

With pole cables

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