Crisis Growing; First Death Reported

( – HAPPENING NOW: A fatal incident has occurred at the Burning Man arts and music festival, where relentless rainfall transformed the Nevada desert landscape into hazardous mud. According to local authorities, the event has compelled thousands of festival-goers into a state of emergency preparedness.

The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office reported that the death transpired “during this rain event,” per a late Saturday statement by KNSD.

Additional information regarding the deceased’s identity or the specific circumstances leading to the death remains undisclosed. “As this death is still under investigation, there is no further information available at this time,” stated officials.

Scheduled at the Black Rock Desert, the festival had to be suspended earlier on Saturday because of adverse weather due to the remnants of Hurricane Hilary.

The federal Bureau of Land Management, responsible for overseeing the land where the festival is taking place, instructed over 73,000 people to stay where they were and advised those en route to the event to return home. “More rain is expected over the next few days and conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the playa,” officials noted.

Prior to this, event coordinators had advised attendees to ration their food and water supplies. They also prohibited vehicles from using roads. Festival-goers, known as Burners, were observed spending their nights in mud-soaked tents and RVs.

Images and footage shared on social media platforms depicted individuals navigating through the muddy terrain, some barefoot, some in mud-covered apparel, and others with bags shielding their shoes.

Festival attendees are traditionally responsible for their own essentials like food, water, and shelter for the event’s duration, which culminates on Monday in a large exodus.

Max Spooner, one of the attendees, was quoted by USA TODAY saying, “I think it’s just a waiting game now. Survival mode, here we go.” Spooner had to journey through the mud to his car to obtain dry bedding, as his tent had become waterlogged the prior night.

Media outlets noted that the festival site experienced a temperature drop to the low 50s, and many lost cellular service due to the storm.

An anonymous Los Angeles-based doctor, not authorized to speak publicly, warned that attendees are susceptible to multiple health issues, including COVID-19. He also mentioned concerns regarding food poisoning and gastrointestinal diseases due to the shortage of cleaning supplies.

“If it rains again, which is going to prevent people from being able to use their vehicles for another three to four days, people are gonna get stranded there, and there’s gonna be a resource crunch,” he told Insider, adding that, “The port-a-potties are probably going to start overflowing, and that’s gonna mix with the mud and the rain, and it’s going to possibly spread infectious diseases.”