Tragedy strikes at Burning Man festival as thousands stranded by fooding
Authorities in Nevada are launching a thorough investigation into a tragic incident that unfolded at the renowned Burning Man festival, leaving thousands of attendees marooned in the midst of severe flooding caused by unrelenting storms that swept across the Nevada desert.
In response to the perilous conditions, festival organizers took the unprecedented step of shutting down vehicular access to the counter-culture extravaganza in the western United States on Saturday night, thrusting attendees into a challenging predicament.
With the festival grounds transformed into a quagmire of mud, many participants found themselves trudging through the muck, some even resorting to makeshift footwear crafted from plastic bags. Urgent advisories were issued, instructing revelers to seek shelter, conserve essential supplies including food and water, and brace themselves for the unforeseen challenges posed by Mother Nature.
The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed the occurrence of a tragic fatality during the event within Black Rock City. However, scant information has been released regarding the identity of the deceased individual or the suspected cause of death, as local TV channel KNSD has reported.
In an attempt to calm anxieties, the Burning Man website conveyed the resilience of the festival in facing adverse conditions such as the flooding. Organizers informed attendees that mobile phone trailers were being deployed to multiple locations on Saturday night, with internet access temporarily reinstated.
To address the dire situation, shuttle buses were hastily arranged to transport attendees from Gerlach, a nearby town roughly 8 kilometers (5 miles) from Black Rock City, to Reno, a city southwest of the festival site. The organizers emphasized the sense of community and preparedness that defines Burning Man, stating, “Burning Man is a community of people who are prepared to support one another. We have come here knowing this is a place where we bring everything we need to survive. It is because of this that we are all well-prepared for a weather event like this.”
In a testament to the challenging conditions, celebrity DJ Diplo shared a video on Instagram showing him and comedian Chris Rock hitching a ride in the back of a fan’s pick-up truck after walking a daunting 9.7 kilometers (6 miles) through the mud. Diplo, whose real name is Thomas Wesley Pentz, described their arduous journey, including thumbing rides along the road.
According to the US Bureau of Land Management, the guardians of the Black Rock Desert where the festival is held, vehicle gates will remain closed for the duration of the event, which commenced on August 27 and was initially slated to conclude on Monday. Officials conveyed that the entrance to the festival grounds remained inaccessible, leaving attendees uncertain about their departure plans. However, there was a glimmer of hope that, with improving weather conditions, vehicles might be able to leave the grounds by late Monday.
These developments unfolded on the cusp of a pivotal moment for the annual event, as the iconic ritual of burning a colossal wooden effigy was set to take place on Saturday night, underscoring the resilience and spirit of the Burning Man community in the face of adversity.