At least eight people killed in crowd surge at Astroworld Festival in Texas, US
Officials in Texas say at least eight people are dead and several others injured in a crowd surge at the Astroworld Festival. A compression of the crowd toward the stage occurred just after 21h00 on Friday, 5 November 2021, while rapper Travis Scott was performing, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said at a news conference. “The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage and that caused some panic and it started causing some injuries,” the fire chief said. “People began to fall out, become unconscious and it created additional panic.” Chief Peña said it appeared the venue had ample exit routes for fans and that none was obstructed.
The show was called off shortly after several people began suffering injuries. Officials transported 17 people to the hospital, including 11 who were in cardiac arrest, Chief Peña said. Many people were also treated at the scene at NRG Park, where a field hospital had been set up.
Approximately 50 000 people were in attendance at the festival, Chief Peña added.
The fire chief said that officials did not immediately know the causes of death for the eight people who died. A medical examiner would investigate. The deceased had not been identified as of early on Saturday.
Twenty-five people were taken to hospitals by ambulance after the crush began, some of them in cardiac arrest, with 13 still hospitalised on Saturday, five under age 18, following the discharge of four patients, Mayor Sylvester Turner told reporters. Eight people died. Most ranged in age from 14 to 27, though one victim's age was not immediately known, Turner said.
Chief Peña described how the crush of fans quickly overwhelmed the private medical personnel for the festival.
Videos posted to social media showed pandemonium as fans and staff tried to bring attention to injured concertgoers. One video showed fans attempting to make camera operators aware of the dangerous situation. Another video showed people waving toward the stage and chanting "Stop the show!"
Officials set up a reunification centre at a hotel for family members who had not been able to reach relatives in attendance at the festival.
Astroworld is a two-day music festival that was scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday in Houston. The event was sold out, according to the Astroworld website.
The event promoters had arranged for medical units to be on scene at the festival, however, once the crowd surge began, those units were “quickly overwhelmed,” Chief Peña said.
City Police Chief Troy Finner said his department has opened a criminal investigation by homicide and narcotics detectives following unconfirmed reports that someone in the audience "was injecting other people with drugs."
Sources: Euro News, Reuters