According to police, 32-year-old Leon Reece has been identified as the Burning Man fatality

Officials on Monday night revealed more details about the death of a festival-goer at Nevada’s Burning Man Festival, confirming the fatality was a 32-year-old man who died on September 1.

Leon Reece was unresponsive around 6:24 p.m. Friday night while the festival was in torrential rain. The unusual downpour in the Nevada desert resulted in thick mud that trapped festival-goers for several days. Reece’s cause of death has not yet been determined, investigators said.

Investigators had previously stated that Reece’s death appeared to have nothing to do with the weather over the weekend. But stormy conditions delayed efforts to send aid, Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen said in a statement Monday night.

“Pershing County dispatchers received a call regarding a male subject who was unresponsive on the floor at the Burning Man festival and medical personnel were performing CPR on the man,” Allen said.

“Due to the unusual rain event at Playa, access to the area and investigative efforts have been delayed. By the time officers from the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office arrived, the festival’s physician had already determined that the male subject, later identified as Leon Reece, a 32-year-old man, was deceased.”

Officers interviewed witnesses and medical workers but were unable to immediately determine Reece’s cause of death. An investigation and toxicology report is currently being prepared.

The annual Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert draws more than 70,000 visitors. Usually, these partygoers are warned of the dangers of dehydration in the remote desert. But this year’s festival took a frightening turn when torrential rains turned the makeshift town into a mud pit and most visitors were stranded until festival organizers announced on Monday that an “exodus” from the campsite was safe.

During the stranding, participants were advised to conserve food and water. Rumors of deaths at the festival circulating on social media added to the concern. “Some people didn’t make it,” said a Burning Man attendee in a now-viral video after the flood. (Only one death was reported.) Those fears were compounded by a hoax about the spread of Ebola among stranded partygoers.

Those rumors were false, Allen said Monday, although doctors had earlier warned Burning Man-goers to take care of their health while stuck in the flooded plain. Stagnant water, port-a-potty and cold weather could put campers at risk of hypothermia, foodborne illness and Covid-19. Insiders previously reported. It was assumed that these risks would increase the longer campers were stuck at the festival. However, as of Monday night, Burning Man-goers were allowed to leave the site and reportedly left in droves.

“Upon consultation with the Bureau of Land Management and the Burning Man Project, there is no validity to reports of an Ebola outbreak or any other disease,” Allen said.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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