A woman died late Thursday night at the Burning Man festival after reportedly falling under a moving bus. The accident happened a little after midnight as the bus was transporting passengers across Black Rock Desert, which is about 110 miles northeast of Reno.
The woman, identified by the Pershing County sheriff's office as Alicia Louise Cipicchio of Jackson, was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries have been reported. Event spokesman Jim Graham said that the accident occurred near the Center Camp of the festival’s temporary village Black Rock City.
According to the Reno Gazette-Journal Cipicchio had graduated from University of North Carolina, Greensboro, as an art student in 2008. Cipicchio lived in Jackson Valley in Teton County and worked at RARE Gallery of Fine Art.
“This is a terrible accident” says Burning Man co-founder Marian Goodell in a statement reported by Los Angeles Times. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and campmates. Black Rock Rangers and Emergency Services Department staff are providing support to those affected.”
Unfortunately, intensive medical support is often difficult to get in Black Rock City. USA Today reports that the nearest town, Gerlach, Nevada, is 16 miles away, but because of the road conditions in the area it takes nearly 90 minutes to get to the small town of 200. The shortest route to a major hospital is more than 120 miles, but again road conditions would prolong the journey to more than 6 hours. Festival goers often have to rely on what volunteer doctors and health-care workers can provide on-site.
Despite the lack of immediate medical facilities, deaths are rare at Burning Man. When speaking with USA Today, Graham stated the most recent death at the festival was seven years ago.
Heavy downpours have already plagued this year’s festival, forcing the event to cancel its first day.