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A man has died at Burning Man after running into fire

A 41-year-old man has died at Nevada’s Burning Man after running into the flames during the festival’s signature ceremony, the ‘Man Burn’.

Aaron Joel Mitchell broke through lines of security to run directly into the blaze of the 12-metre high effigy, despite attempts by firefighters to tackle and restrain him.

Firefighters were initially forced to abandon their attempts to retrieve him as the burning structure began to fall around them, but eventually pulled Mitchell free and airlifted him to nearby hospital, where he later died of his injuries. The ceremony was being watched by upwards of 50,000 people.

Nevada’s Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen confirmed that Mitchell was not under the influence of alcohol, but they were awaiting the results of a toxicology report. “We don’t know if it was intentional on his part or if it was just kind of induced by drugs. We’re not sure of that yet,” Allen said.

Organisers have since released a statement on their website regarding the tragedy, advising that Mitchell’s family had been notified of his death, as well as offering support and resources to any festival goers who were affected the incident.

“We’re aware this incident has affected not only those who responded immediately on the scene, but also those who witnessed it, and our Black Rock City community more broadly,” they wrote. “We are working to make resources available to those affected.

“Now is a time for closeness, contact and community. Trauma needs processing. Promote calls, hugs, self-care, check-ins, and sleep.”

Read the full statement here. The festival is due to warp for 2017 today.