41-year-old Aaron Joel Mitchell died early Sunday at the UC Davis Firefighters Burn Institute in Sacramento after being airlifted from Nevada.
Mitchell was attending the Burning Man festival for the first time when he ran straight into the giant effigy burned at the end of the weeklong event.
His parents said they had last seen him on August 1st before he headed out to Oregon to see the solar eclipse as a precursor to his first Burning Man festival.
Nevada’s Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen said Mitchell wasn't under the influence of alcohol, but a toxicology report is pending:
“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."
More than 70,000 people attended the massive 9-day festival in the Black Rock Desert north of Reno, which always ends with the burning of a 40-foot effigy made of wood.
After Mitchell's death, festival organizers offered emotional support counseling on site:
“Now is a time for closeness, contact and community. Trauma needs processing. Promote calls, hugs, self-care, check-ins, and sleep.”