Nevada police are investigating the death of one person at the Burning Man 2023 festival following a severe rainstorm that has rendered tens of thousands of others stranded in the mud.
The Pershing County Sheriff's Office in northern Nevada said in a statement that the casualty occurred "during this rain event" and did not disclose the person's identity or the apparent cause, NBC News reported.
"As this death is still under investigation, there is no further information available at this time," the office said, adding that "most festival operations have been halted or significantly delayed."
Following the flooding from the recent rainstorm, the Bureau of Land Management and local police have closed the entrance to the festival, located in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, for the remainder of the event. Burning Man 2023 was supposed to run until Sept. 4.
Pershing County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Nathan Carmichael told CNN that "a little over 70,000 people" remained stranded Sept. 2, while others left the festival site by walking out. However, he added, "most of the RVs are stuck in place."
Burning Man organizers have released a 2023 Wet Playa Survival Guide to help the stranded festivalgoers. Attendees have been asked to shelter in place and conserve food, water and fuel.
Meanwhile, organizers said mobile cell trailers would be dropped in strategic positions, the organization's Wi-Fi system would be opened for public access and that it was possible to walk as far as five miles "through the mud" to the nearest road to Gerlach, where they would deploy buses to take people to Reno.
But on Sept. 3, a message stated that "as of 9am Sunday, the roads remain too wet and muddy to officially open them for Exodus. There is also an uncertain weather front approaching Black Rock City."
The post continued, "Some vehicles with 4WD and all-terrain tires are able to navigate the mud and are successfully leaving. But we are seeing most other types of vehicles that try to depart getting stuck in the wet mud which hampers everyone's Exodus. Please do NOT drive at this time. Road conditions differ based on the neighborhood. We will update you on the driving ban after this weather front has left the area."
Meanwhile, organizers hope to carry out their annual tradition of setting its signature wooden effigy on fire. "We plan to burn the Man at 9:30pm tonight (9/3)," the message read, "weather permitting."
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