Authorities are continuing their investigation into the death of a man at the Burning Man cultural festival in the Black Rock desert in Nevada, despite heavy rains leaving thousands of people trapped on site, according to CNN.
Following the heavy downpour which caused the area to become flooded and covered in thick mud, thousands of attendees remain stuck at the venue, with the mud sticking to their shoes and vehicle tires, the US media outlet stated.
The sheriff’s office has confirmed that they are investigating a death that occurred during the rainy conditions, but have not released any further details or the identity of the deceased.
Sgt. Nathan Carmichael from the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office informed CNN that on Saturday, over 70,000 people were stranded, although some have since managed to leave on foot, while many RVs are still stuck in place.
Event organizers have revealed that roads remain closed due to the wet and muddy conditions, warning attendees not to drive until further notice. They confirmed plans to update on the driving ban once the weather improves.
Heavy rain in the remote area of northwest Nevada caused the equivalent of 2 to 3 months’ worth of rain in just 24 hours between Friday and Saturday morning, resulting in thick, clay-like mud that made it difficult for festival-goers to walk or cycle through.
The sheriff’s office released a news statement on Saturday night confirming that the family of the deceased had been notified and that an investigation is underway.
The burning of the festival’s main totem, known as the Man, has been rescheduled for Monday night due to the continued rain and muddy conditions, as well as problems with moving heavy equipment and ensuring fire safety on site, according to organizers.
Authorities have not specified when the roads will reopen, but it is expected that the sunnier weather on Monday will assist in the drying out of the area.
On Sunday, organizers stated that rain falling on already saturated ground would prolong the drying process, but no injuries had been reported as of Saturday evening, according to Sean Burke, the director of emergency management for Pershing County.
Popular DJ Diplo and comedian Chris Rock were among the attendees at the festival, with Diplo reportedly walking several miles to reach a nearby airport, as reported by CNN.