Police Investigate Death at Burning Man as Over 70,000 People Trapped due to Floods

Burning Man
Burning Man 2023 | Photo by David Crane/picture alliance via Getty Images

Police in Nevada are investigating the death of a person at Burning Man, which came amid disastrous floods that have trapped over 70,000 at the Black Rock Desert festival site. In a statement released over the weekend by the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office, officials said the death was under investigation, but didn’t reveal any other details – including their identity or cause of death.

Attendees at the festival were left stranded in the site over the weekend as heavy rains bombarded the area – nearly three months worth of rain is estimated to have fallen between Friday and Saturday morning, turning the desert grounds into a mud pit.

Heavy Rains Leave Thousands Stranded at Burning Man

The heavy rains have cut off normal access to the site; some attendees hiked kilometres out of the site to find main roads. Festival-goers have been ordered to shelter in place and conserve water, food, and fuel.

In a statement released in the evening of Sunday, 3rd September, Burning Man organisers said that conditions were improving, but the main Gate Road was still impassable.

“We have created alternative routes that if used on Monday you will be flagged to the best area to drive across,” organisers said. “The majority of the rain has passed with partially cloudy skies, and a chance of showers and thunderstorms for the rest of the daylight hours. A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms linger into the evening of Sunday 9/3. Gusty winds are still possible today and this evening. Monday 9/4 will bring clear skies, and a welcome chance to dry out.”

They also confirmed they’ll be going ahead with their traditional closing event – the Man Burn, in which a massive effigy is burned – on Monday night.

“We do not expect to have to evacuate the site,” the BM team added. “However, we are in a high level of readiness due to weather uncertainty and playa conditions, to assist people on site and leaving the site as needed, as conditions evolve.”

Burning Man organisers also strongly denied rumours that an Ebola outbreak has occurred on the site, rumours of which were fueled by false social media posts. “The online rumors of transmissible illnesses in Black Rock City are unfounded and untrue,” organisers wrote.

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