What led to Aaron Joel Mitchell running into the Burning Man effigy? Reveler dies after throwing himself into sacrificial bonfire.
Aaron Joel Mitchell a 41 year old man has been identified as the reveler who ran into the Burning Man effigy Saturday night leading to his death.
Despite attempts of security to preempt Mitchell, the McAlester, Oklahoma born native who’d taken up residence in Switzerland was able to make his way into the bonfire at the festival at the Black Rock desert in Nevada.
A report via USA Today, told of Mitchell ‘breaking through a safety perimeter at Burning Man and ran into the flames of the massive burning effigy Saturday night’ September 2.
While TMZ reported, ‘a guy literally sprinted past fire crews Saturday night that were stationed around one of the giant burning man structures in Nevada, leaving him engulfed in flames. Firefighters leaped to the rescue and treated him on the scene.’
Perhaps ironically, the bonfire at the Burning Man festival reflecting the culmination of nine days of revelry, free love, expression and artistic and pagan like ritual was Mitchell’s own personal sacrifice to the gods of ritual.
Despite being airlifted to nearby hospital, Mitchell come 6.30 am Sunday morning was declared dead, having fatally succumbed to his injuries. Injuries which were caught in a surreal series of photographs, showing the man as if willfully diving into the bonfire, giddily offering himself as his own sacrificial token.
Reiterated tmz, ‘You see what appears to be a long haired man running full force into the blaze … and then tripping and falling with fire rescuers close behind.’
— † Mario ن (@eIguanac0) September 3, 2017
Did Aaron Joel Mitchell willfully seek out his suicide death at Burning Man?
Told the man’s mother Johnnye Mitchell via the Reno Gazette-Journal, ‘He’s 41, but they are always your baby.’
Adding, ‘He was loving and a nice person’.
Mitchell’s mother said that her son ‘liked hiking and outdoors, running.’
At the time of his death, the married man without children worked in construction.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Mitchell was undergoing any particular setback or stress or discord in his personal life.
More than 70,000 people attended the festival, SFgate reported.
Of note, reports told of previous attendees in years past having attempted to elude security detail attempting to gather pieces of the spectacle as a token and going through the hot coals.
Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen told of having brought on rangers to stage a human-chain to prevent people from accessing the fire.
According to the Sheriff Mitchell tested negative for alcohol after the incident, but toxicology tests for other substances are pending. Despite security efforts, the Burning Man festival is often inundated with wide drug use.