The man who died after running into the flames of the Burning Man festival effigy on Saturday night has been identified as Aaron Joel Mitchell.
Mitchell, a married 41-year-old from Oklahoma, evaded several rangers and security guards to leap into the festival’s signature burning effigy.
Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen told The Reno Gazette-Journal Mitchell was rescued by firefighters and was airlifted to the UC Davis hospital burn centre in California where he later died from his injuries.
Burning man at Burning Man Festival pic.twitter.com/Ga2EfD4m4w
— Bikash Karki ? (@Bikashkarki5) September 3, 2017
Growing up in Oklahoma, Aaron emigrated to Switzerland but flew back to America for the solar eclipse and the Nevada festival which was attended by 70,000 people from across the world.
Aaron, who worked in construction, was pronounced dead on Sunday morning.
He was not under the influence of alcohol and it is not known yet whether he was under the influence of drugs.
His mother, Johnnye Mitchell, told the Reno Gazette-Journal it was her son’s first time at Burning Man.
He’s 41, but they are always your baby. He was loving and a nice person. Joel liked hiking and outdoors, running.
He was in great spirits when we saw him. We are just in shock, total shock. We can’t believe this happened.
— ConservativeBlogs (@_Conservative_1) September 3, 2017
The nine-day event culminates with the burning of a towering 40-foot effigy made of wood which attendees have previously tried to run into as a symbol of rebirth.
Rescuers had to wait to allow the structure to fall before they could go in to reach Aaron.
Authorities are still investigating his death.