The annual Burning Man festival, a counterculture fest that draws massive crowds, experienced a nasty turn of events this year, which has already resulted in one death.
According to the Associated Press, after a freak summer storm brought a torrential downpour that turned the large festival into a mud bath, at least one person was confirmed dead, though little in the way of details have been announced.
CBS News noted:
The Pershing County Sheriff's Office confirmed it is investigating the death in a news release issued Saturday, and said the family has been notified both of the death and the active probe. A spokesperson for the sheriff's office told CBS News on Sunday that the death occurred during the extreme rain that swept through parts of northwestern Nevada on Friday and Saturday, but not because of it.
Tens of thousands of festival-goers were stranded Sunday in deep mud in the Nevada desert after rain turned the annual Burning Man gathering into a quagmire, with police investigating one death. https://t.co/oLJTyvvuiR
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) September 3, 2023
The freak storm turned the Black Rock Desert, a dried lake bed, into a giant, dangerous mud pit. Vehicle traffic was closed after the storm, and thousands remained stranded over the weekend.
On Monday, vehicles were once again allowed to use the roads to exit, causing a mass exodus that created its own share of frustrations and problems.
EXODUS: Thousands of people, who spent days stranded at the Burning Man festival after rain turned desert to mud, are finally leaving
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) September 5, 2023
A spokesperson for the Pershing County Sheriff's Office said that at last headcount, some 73,000 attendees had been stranded as a result of the storm. Some were able to make it to a nearby town after hiking for miles.
Thousands of #BurningMan attendees readied to make their "exodus" on Monday as the counter-culture arts festival in the Nevada desert ends in a sea of drying mud instead of a party around its flaming effigy namesake. https://t.co/Mu5csUXunJ
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) September 4, 2023
"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," a statement from the organizers read.
It added, "We have done table-top drills for events like this. We are engaged full-time on all aspects of safety and looking ahead to our Exodus as our next priority."
The Bureau of Land Management worked with the organizers and the local sheriff's department to ensure the safety of those who were left stranded.
NEW: Burning Man organizers say there's an estimated departure wait time of about 6.5 hours as attendees seek to leave the festival after flooding left them stranded for dayshttps://t.co/4efoExkjPN
— Axios (@axios) September 5, 2023
The reported death is still being investigated.
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