Astroworld Festival: At least 8 dead, several more injured at concert in Texas
At least eight people were killed and numerous others were injured in a crowd surge at the Astroworld music festival in Houston while rapper Travis Scott was performing, according to officials.
Officials declared a “mass casualty incident” shortly after 9 p.m. Friday during the festival, which was attended by an estimated 50,000 people, according to Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pea.
“The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, causing some panic and resulting in some injuries,” the fire chief explained. “People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.”
Shortly after, the show was cancelled. “Scores of people” were injured, according to the fire chief.
According to Pea, 17 people were transported to hospitals, 11 of whom were in cardiac arrest. A field hospital had been set up at NRG Park, and many people were treated there. Throughout the day, about 300 people were examined at that location, he said.
Astroworld is a two-day music festival in Houston that was set to take place on Friday and Saturday. According to the Astroworld website, the event was completely sold out. The performances scheduled for Saturday have been cancelled.
Drake joined Travis Scott onstage at the concert, which was live-streamed by Apple Music, and shared photos from the performance on Instagram.
Medical units had been stationed at the festival by event organisers, but once the crowds arrived, those units were “quickly overwhelmed,” according to Pea.
Near the front of the crowd, Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said the surge “happened all at once.”
“Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode,” Satterwhite said. “And so we immediately started doing CPR, and moving people right then, and that’s when I went and met with the promoters, and Live Nation, and they agreed to end early in the interest of public safety.”
Officials did not know the causes of death for the eight people who died, according to Pea. A medical examiner would look into the matter. It was unclear whether all eight people who died were among the 17 people who were taken to hospitals. As of early Saturday, the deceased had not been identified.
Officials established a reunification centre at a hotel for family members who were unable to contact relatives who had attended the event. According to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, authorities were trying to connect families with festivalgoers who were taken to the hospital, “some as young as 10” years old.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner urged people to remain calm and avoid jumping to conclusions about what caused the surge.
“I think it’s very important that none of us speculate. Nobody has all the answers tonight,” Finner said. He added that there have been several rumors surrounding the event that authorities would look into.
“We’re going to do an investigation and find out because it’s not fair to the producers, to anybody else involved, until we determine what happened, what caused the surge,” he said. “We don’t know, but we will find out.”
The Associated Press attempted to contact Scott’s representative but did not receive a response.
Scott and the event promoters, according to Finner, cooperated with police.
The death toll was the highest at a U.S. concert since the Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island in 2003, which killed 100 people.
Thousands of fans tried to get into Cincinnati’s riverfront coliseum in 1979, and eleven people died and about two dozen were injured.