BREAKING: Woman Dies at Burning Man [Updates]

This just in, we will update the story if we get more details.

[Update 9/1/14 7:14pm]

The most recent version of events:

The art car was towing a trailer with heavy equipment including a generator. Burning Man founder Marian Goodell was on board, the accident happened just in front of First Camp. The 29 year old woman, Alicia Cipicchio from Wyoming, tried to jump on the bus while it was moving to climb a ladder to its roof, between the bus and trailer. She died at the scene. The driver has not been accused of any wrongdoing in what sounds like a tragic – and preventable – accident.

Preventable? Don’t try to jump on a moving art car, Burners.

Our condolences to Alicia’s family and friends – may she rest in peace. It seems that the Burner community came together, with the neighbors looking out for her distraught camp-mates.

Burner Gary said:

Dear Fellow Burners,
I’m attaching a very personal note we received from Alicia’s friends and campmates. This amazing act of kindness started the healing process for everyone. Our two camps met, shared the sadness, prayed and hope everyone understands this was a tragic accident, not reckless driving.

As you may know, Alicia tried to jump on the trailer ladder while the bus was moving and fell in between the bus and the trailer (apologies for being direct).

Our deepest sympathy goes out to everyone and please never jump on a moving art car, tragic accidents happen in a split second.

Please send your positive thoughts and pray this never happens again.

alicia note




From the SF Chronicle:

embrace and man and sun08-28) 08:49 PDT BLACK ROCK DESERT, NEV. — A woman died at Burning Man in northern Nevada early Thursday after she was run over by a bus carrying participants, authorities said.

Details of the crash were not immediately released, but Burning Man co-founder Marian Goodell described it as “a terrible accident.”

The victim’s name has not been released pending notification of her family.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and campmates,” Goodell said. “Black Rock rangers and emergency services department staff are providing support to those affected.”

The 500 rangers managed by organizer Black Rock City LLC are patrolling the art and entertainment event in addition to 95 federal and local law enforcement officers. Burning Man officials said they were working with the Pershing County sheriff’s office in its investigation of the death.

In 2003, Katherine Lampman of Belmont died at the event when she fell from an “art car” and was run over by its wheels. Lampman, 21, was a student at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco and an aspiring photographer.

Some 68,000 people are arriving in the Black Rock Desert about 120 miles north of Reno for the annual weeklong event. The gates opened Tuesday after a rainstorm hit the region, closing the festival Monday on its opening day.

The Shagadelica Bus

The Shagadelica Bus

The Art Car involved was Shagadelica, a double decker bus covered in fur. The incident appears to have happened just after midnight Thursday morning, in front of Center Camp and the keyhole. Burning Man updated their Facebook group with the news around 5am.

Fox47 News has a video story here. They are reporting that the woman fell under the bus and was run over.

From Reuters:

The woman, whose name and age was not immediately released, may have been riding on the bus before she fell under the wheels and was run over by it, said Sheila Reitz, dispatch supervisor for the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office.

Looking at the photo of bus, it’s easy to see how someone might fall off the top, but harder to see how they would then get run over. Perhaps she fell from the doorway?

[Update] 8/28/14 12:06pm

The 29-year old woman from Wyoming has been identified, From KRNV news Reno:

PERSHING COUNTY, Nev. ( & KRNV) — Pershing County officials have identified the victim of Thursday morning’s deadly bus incident at Burning Man.
According to a press release from Pershing County authorities, Alicia Louise Cipicchio — a 29-year-old resident of Jackson, Wyoming — suffered fatal injuries early Thursday morning after falling under a large vehicle at the annual Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada.

Event officials, including representatives of Black Rock City, the Bureau of Land Management, and Pershing County Sheriff’s Office express their condolences and sympathies to the family, friends and campmates of the victim. Support is being provided to those affected by the tragedy.

Organizers are working with investigators from Pershing County Sheriff’s Office to determine the series of events leading to the incident. Anyone with information that may assist in the investigations is asked to contact (775) 273-2641.

 [Update 8/28/14 4:42pm] 5 Time Burner has shared a better photo of the Shagadelica. It pulls a trailer, which sheds some light on how a tragedy like this could occur:

shagadelic art car sand-ship

This is not the first time someone has been run over at the festival. There have been at least 2 other deaths there since 2011 – a fact that is news to me. The number of police sounds lower than previous years. From the Reno Gazette-Journal:

Humboldt General Hospital CEO Jim Parrish said earlier this week that deaths do happen at Burning Man. He said at least two other people have died there since the hospital began providing medical response in 2011.

This is the first reported Burning Man death this year.

The woman…sustained fatal injuries after she was struck and died at the scene. (Daily Mail)

No foul play is suspected, the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office said. (Raw Story)

Burners commenting online have shared details on some other incidents:

Tristan: another year i saw someone also get rolled over by a (smaller) art-car (only minor injuries). they learned it is a really bad idea to sleep under an art-car parked on the playa.  

…a few years ago a random guy was mugged by a guy dressed-up as a clown, it was pretty serious (broken arm).

Marco: the last time i was there we were in line and person got ran over by the family that was in their trailer

Leja: We had someone in our camp years ago who happened to die from his congenital heart defect just after setting his tent up. His family was contacted immediately. We were amazed by the rangers and other staff in how organized, thorough, solid and kind their response was.

Cameron: Remember the woman we found sleeping on the playa in the middle of the night last year and took back to her camp – no lights, no neon. Scary. Temple Burn.

Partick: At least we know what happened now…. All night we heard things like stab or massive gunshot……

El Chingdon: lets not forget the people who died in a burning airstream in 2003 because they left candles burning

Mr Fang: No one died in a burning airstream in 2003, but someone did die that year from injuries sustained when a small plane crashed

Laurie: We found a girl last year passed out face down in the middle of everything and had to call the rangers. She was in the dark and this could have happened then, it’s very hard to see out there in the in between spots

The Sheriff JD: may the clouds of your own heaven hold you gently and rest your soul in peace

from the UStream feed

screen cap from the UStream feed – definitely looks like Shagadelica

2014 shagadelica fatality

Photo of the victim from Facebook. Our condolences to her family and friends, and all the Burners who witnessed this tragedy. May she rest in peace.

alicia cipicchio

[Update 8/31/14 3:33pm]

Burner Frank is just back from the Playa, and took this photo of Shagadelica and Embrace. It looks like the trailer is full of speakers, which would be very heavy.

motorbike embrace

[Update 8/31/14 4:59pm] Someone who works at DMV has shared some further details about the accident:

It had nothing do to with driving while drunk. The girl jumped on the car while it was moving on the back and lost footing and the port geni ran over her that they tow. I work for DMV and all of the drivers are very responseable about keeping with brc rules/laws. In my time with DMV I have never come across a drunk operator.


34 comments on “BREAKING: Woman Dies at Burning Man [Updates]

  1. No burn this year. That was a wild year and so many things came to the surface. I personally saw angels rescue the good and demons drag the devil back to its’ feral lair. The currents were strong and the forces battled. Events that ensued were resetting the Karma of the site. the Key Hole is a POWERFUL PLACE. Everything was unlocked that year. Peace was restored and Pandora’s Box was resealed. We shall never see that spirit of darkness again….. it was so at the Key Hole. Aho

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  3. I had the path of knowing the person. I have not yet aired my personal freedom and am thankful to have escaped from the dis-ease shared in living by the person who found the freedom she most wanted. I have buried my voice for more than a year and a half. I have spent much time healing from this horrible time. My respect for death has hushed the real living details of this untold house of horror. She was anything but peaceful and nice, as her likeable cloak would suggest. She lived in tightly knitted lies and deceit while disrupting loving families and permanently harming, both mentally and physically. Her unbalanced mental disorders led her down the dark path to her death. There are no accidents, that you can be assured. She hooked unsuspecting “Friends” through her manipulative encounters and sociopathic behaviors. As with the profile, sociopaths are well studied in gaining support. I find great inspiration that you are touched by the situation and reply so that you are clear on how you may wish to use your beautiful intentions towards the confusing situation of that dark day. It was said The Temple would hold space for the previous clouds and future rainbows. The Temple is a Sacred place and a communal place. This magical place is a space to share beauty, love, experience, wisdom and truth- a place to remember, bring forth the path and find a life of ease. The temple representation in need of support is for those truly harmed and separated by the foolish self manipulative actions of this individual, for she carefully sought and created her own place life as with the place in death. It is difficult to comprehend the harmful web she spun around her as onlookers only saw the performance she put on, light and airy, while the true substance of lies and harm were just under the surface. Not many know the level she went to to live where she lived and die where she died. She created the chaos that ensued as a result of the death. She should remain in memory for her true colors, although tragically in her death, the truth will never be released. So few will tell the real truth once death has occurred. May she live an eternity taking her own medicine, and see where this eternity lands- Peace or Sorrow-Love or Hate- Light or Dark- Truth or Lies? Dare to ask? May memories of the true being always shine upon her as she shrouded in sorrow those who had fallen due to her selfish actions day after month after year after decade through a lifetime. To those who live the lifestyle and call the playa home, may you be released from such confusing energy and return to your freedom. Be beautiful. Fly free. She was not there in likeness with you, she was simply there to meet the the fate she sought and rain darkness on everything around her, to be remembered in her agony disguised as an accident. She was never interested in the lifestyle, the freedom, the love. May you find your way free and remember your beautiful intent. Don’t be caught in the strings that tie so many to pity and sadness for a life cut short. Instead spread your wings and fly on the winds of union, drive the waves of love. Spread the story, share the release! Breath in love and exhale the guilt, sorrow, and chaos that was intended to bind her story to yours. Be free. Be yourself Beautifully! I come in peace to air the darkness that has held me captive until now. Every voice, every person, every story matters. I too am Free! Beautifully Free to be ME! It has been a long heavy journey carrying this baggage that I now release to BURN away that which was never meant for me.
    -In Peace

    • Thank you for sharing the darkness, I hope it helped you to release it. Details like this can help the community to understand and process what really happened.

      • Thank you for taking the time with me. It has not been easy for anyone and I have worked through to a place where I know the importance of being honest and allowing all sides of this tragedy be heard. It is extremely important to let the truth be disclosed. The corners are rounding and the shadows finding light. I have devoted much time and consideration in how to move forward, for my journey with her began long before her exodus. As I mentioned, it has consumed over a year and a half of my precious life. It has never been more clear and I pass on what needs to be said to close the circle. I am putting the pieces back together and have found my voice. I hope this will assist the community in honoring a path chosen by an individual who lived a life of strife, anxiety and confusion. Perhaps the blessings will change from pity to understanding and acceptance. My personal journey with this individual was the most challenging and also the most profound I have experienced to date. While many emotions could dominate my mind, I am choosing forgiveness as I stand tall in the truth.

    • Really???? Who are you Buttercup? Every single person who knew this woman has stated what a loving, amazing, & happy person she was….. I know the True Story & The TRUE LOVE that surrounded her! If you want to talk in person, my real name is Darby Palmer & I would be happy to have a conversation with you. Bashing someone who is dead is just evil!

      • No Bashing or evil intent has been presented as you have interpreted. If you read carefully it is an airing of a very deep wound created by actions of another. No person, yourself included, should ever be criticized for having the courage to voice their truth. No two people see anything from the same place, and therefore each journey will be different. No two people share the same truth. As mentioned, it was a profound understanding gained from knowing the individual.
        “- May she live an eternity taking her own medicine, and see where this eternity lands-” : there is a journey that each person has chosen and each action put into being has a reaction. One should be able to receive the same blessings they have put upon another, this speaks for itself. If the blessing was kind and beautiful, that would be the return, if not the opposite is unfortunately true. I put no ill will forward.
        “-Perhaps the blessings will change from pity to understanding and acceptance.”; here the hope is that true understanding and forgiveness will be found for this soul. Peace, freedom of speech, and healing for those who actually knew her is all that is present. Nothing evil- Only Peace.
        May your journey present you with blessing and understanding, for your relations with this person are clearly opposite of mine. Find peace in your day and love that you were shown. It is all connected.

    • as the anniversary of her death approaches us once again, i am still in awe of your story buttercup. it has been seven long years since she has been with us and so long since my last burn.

      only now do i dare to ask. how was her death not an accident? who was she truly? what is the real truth? what things lurk in the darkness? bring the truth forth into the light so others may find freedom.

      • 7 years, a cycle, the time it took to clear away what she created for those who were “close”, those she recklessly harmed…. The details are unnecessary at this point. The years behind have separated her chaos from life and need not be aired. All is as it is- Life is a choice, happiness is a gift, friendship is a treasure, honor is joy, truth is sacred, actions speak loudly…. things I learned seeing the opposite.

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  8. It’s sad when anyone dies, especially someone who had a huge life in front of her. It is even sadder to me that she was a citizen of a very sacred ephemeral city which I choose to call Home. My Burn was much quiter after hearing of this tragedy. My camp mate is First Responder for Rangers and she was devastated by the scene, I pray for everyone this accident touched, from her grieving parents to the bus driver to the First Responders to the people riding there bikes past the scene, seeing something they will never erase from their internal screen. Alicia Cipicchio will have incredible representation at the Temple next year, I will make sure of that. I am very sad for her boyfriend as well, who was with her at her personal time of permanent exodus. Peace.

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  10. I know this bus. Don’t know who owns it now but the original guys were garbage. Big money partier types – one was an Enron trader I think. I met them in Vail as they planned it. It made its debut onto the Playa in tow as it blew its engine driving from SF. Had to be towed around that year by a Unimog. Then a year later it re-appeared in working order and hit the playa with a door man and an attitude from hell….rumors abounded – drugs, hookers and private parties. I even heard they were told to leave the event. Another rumor was that its fake fur got infested with bugs over the year….can’t substantiate the rumors but where there’s smoke….and I saw smoke when I met these guys. (the computer in the Vail condo had a page up for “Vail escorts”! – WE LEFT IN A HURRY!). It needs to go away for good now. Bad karma…..Sad story and a tragedy for this woman and her family.

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  17. Many fewer people die or are injured at BM than in an other city of the same size in the same time period…….or so I have heard

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  19. If it was the Shagadelica it’s clear to see how this could happen. Our camp had a small bus with a platform over the cab, and one night a guy just passed out and rag-dolled in in front of the vehicle. Luckily we were barely moving at the time and the driver hit the breaks.

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