At least 8 deaths confirmed at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival – .

At least 8 deaths confirmed at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival – .

At least eight people have died and dozens more injured after a sold-out crowd of around 50,000 surged during rapper Travis Scott’s performance on Friday night at the Astroworld festival outside NRG Park, crushing security forces and resulting in one of the deadliest concerts in U.S. history.

“We have had a large number of casualties here at Astroworld,” said Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña. “We had people who collapsed and passed out. “

Seventeen people were taken to hospital, including 11 Peña described as being in cardiac arrest. Some of the victims are children.

“I’ve heard of other events like this in football, but not here, not in these kinds of events,” said Peña.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo called it an “extremely tragic night” as families waited to see if their loved ones were safe. The Houston Police Department is in the process of identifying casualties in hospitals, and a reunification center has been set up at the Wyndham Houston Hotel at 8686 Kirby. Those looking for relatives can also call 832-393-2991 or 832-393-2990.

“Our hearts are broken,” Hidalgo said. “People go to these events looking for a good time. This is not the kind of event where you would expect to find fatalities. “

A statement was posted just before 6 a.m. on Saturday morning on the festival’s social media accounts.

“Our hearts are with the family of the Astroworld festival tonight – especially those we have lost and their loved ones. We focus on supporting local officials as much as we can. With this in mind, the festival will no longer take place on Saturday ”, we can read. “As the authorities mentioned earlier in their press conference, they are examining the series of cardiac arrests that have taken place. If you have any relevant information on this matter, please contact the Houston Police Department. Thank you to our partners from the Houston Police Department, Fire Department and NRG Park for their response and support.

A crowd of 50,000 attended the planned two-day event, a tribute to Houston’s closed Astroworld theme park. HPD chief Troy Finner said 367 police officers and 241 security guards were on duty throughout the day.

The event started around 2 p.m. with fans storming the front doors, bypassing security and metal detectors. Some were stopped by security guards and HPD officers on horseback, but no serious injuries were reported. It was similar to the start of the 2019 event.

Scott, originally from Houston, is known for his high octane performance and aggressive crowd that he calls “angry.” Rapper Drake, who calls Houston a second home, made a surprise appearance during Scott’s set, further amplifying the excitement. The performance was broadcast live on Apple Music in 167 countries and regions.

At around 9 p.m., the crowd for Scott’s 75-minute closing performance began to march towards the stage, according to Peña, causing panic and injury. Scott stopped several times when he spotted fans in distress and asked security to help them out of the crowd. Emergency vehicles, flashing lights and sirens, drove through the crowd on several occasions.

The chaos intensified until 9:38 pm, when the “mass incident” was triggered. About 55 units from the Houston Fire Department responded and began performing CPR on the subconscious. Videos taken at NRG Park began to surface on social media overnight, showing the melee.

Video circulated showing paramedics driving a vehicle like a golf cart, performing chest compressions on a bystander who had fallen unconscious, as tens of thousands of spectators continued to party in the background.

“It happened all of a sudden,” said Deputy Executive Chef Larry Satterwhite. “It looks like it happened in just a few minutes. “

The majority of those carried were in their 20s, Satterwhite said. “We have parents asking about teenagers. We are still working on everything. “

Earlier today, security had confronted teens without tickets, going through barricades and hoping to gain access to the festival.

“A lot of times kids don’t make the best decisions,” Satterwhite said, “Because they’re young and excited… I just think it was so many people – and passion – to see this artist. I don’t know, and a lot of bad decisions ”

More than 300 people were treated at NRG Park Field Hospital throughout the day due to heat exhaustion, alcohol poisoning and overdoses. The concert ended early “in the interest of public safety.”

“No one could dream of that. But here we are, and I think it’s very important that neither of us speculate. Nobody has all the answers tonight, ”Finner said. He referred to “rumors of people injecting (with) drugs”.

“If you don’t have the facts, if you don’t have the evidence, I’m not going to oppose it. We have injured families here, ”he said.

Travis Scott performs at the Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on Friday, November 5, 2021.Jamaal Ellis / Contributor

Spectator Gutierrez, 26, watched in horror as people flooded the stage during Scott’s set.

“It got to the point where people were stepping on other people,” said Gutierrez, who traveled from upstate New York to Houston for the event with his friends, Angel Colon from New Jersey, and Kevin Rosario and Andrew Delgado, both of Florida.

The fans crashed into each other, moving almost as a single unit in the mosh pit, he said. In some places, people were so crowded that they started to hyperventilate or struggle to leave.

“We were hanging on to each other to avoid breaking up,” he said. “If you let go, you could easily walk away. “

They went to other festivals, but Astroworld was different.

“It’s scary to think that we had a great time and that for others it was the last time they were alive,” said Rosario.

Gutierrez added: “As humans we have to do better. “

A woman present called the crowd aggressive and said they had been beaten repeatedly.

“I had never been to a music festival with so many angry people,” she said.

Billy Nasser, a 24-year-old DJ who said he has attended about 50 Scott concerts, arrived at the festival around 1:30 p.m. the evening.

The first four or five songs, Nasser said, were good. Then the crowd started to pour in and people started to fall.

“Everyone up front was getting run over,” Nasser said early Saturday over the phone. “The crowd was moving so hard, people were falling and then tripping over people on the ground. “

People started calling Nasser, who wears doctor’s coats as a DJ outfit, for help, he said. He tried to help a child who was on the floor. Some people continued to dance, apparently not realizing what was going on. The child he picked up tripped and fell on top of a bunch of others.

Nasser said he realized there was a pile piling up, that people were probably dying, and he started to panic.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “I have attended so many festivals. I’ve never seen anything like it before. “

Eric Daniels watched the concert with his son from the disabled section, where they saw several people from a mosh pit being trampled and suffocated. Daniels said he was concerned about the lack of security guards or police on the main stage.

“The only two visible security guards did their best to pull people over a security fence as they were crushed against it,” he said in an email. “People then passed lifeless bodies to paramedics where they tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate four different people. All the while battling the crowds stomping on the bodies lying in the aisle. “

Concertist Christian Souza tried to help the people who had fallen. He said he and others lifted an unconscious man over a barricade and then watched paramedics spend 20 minutes trying to revive him.

“I saw a girl just laying there. And I never really saw people who died instantly like that, like fresh dead, ”he said. “But it looked like she wasn’t alive. “

The second day of the festival, scheduled for Saturday, was to feature Latin superstar Bad Bunny, Earth, Wind & Fire and Teezo Touchdown, from Beaumont.

Editor-in-chief Alejandro Serrano, Nicole Hensley and Gabrielle Banks contributed to this report.


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