At least 8 dead and many injured after influx of crowds at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, officials say

The victims were 14, 16, two were 21, two were 23 and one was 27, while the age of one of the victims remains unknown, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Saturday evening. of a press conference. No one has been reported missing, the mayor added.

At least 25 people were taken to hospital and of these, 13 remained hospitalized on Saturday afternoon, the mayor said. Five of them are under 18, he added.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” Turner said. “Over the next few days, several weeks, could be even longer, we will take a deep look at everything that happened, why it happened, what steps we can take to mitigate an incident like this from To take place.”

Video from the event showed the performer on an outdoor stage – rapper and event planner Travis Scott – pausing and confusedly watching an ambulance with flashing lights move through the densely populated crowd.
“Once (Scott) started, all hell broke loose,” spectator Alexis Guavin, 23, told CNN. “All that must be 50,000 people ran to the front, compressing everyone with the little air available.”

Guavin added that there were “mosh pits in all directions.”

The company responsible for organizing the event, Live Nation, released a statement saying it was “heartbroken for those lost and affected.”

“We will continue to work to provide as much information and assistance as possible to local authorities as they investigate the situation,” the statement said.

“I realized that people were dying”

People there described being more and more in a hurry in the minutes before Scott’s performance starts, then feeling overwhelmed and seeing the others pass out and scream in terror once his show begins.

“The crowd was crushing me so much I felt like I couldn’t breathe,” Emily Munguia, 22, told CNN. “I started screaming for help… I was so scared, like I was going to die.”

“The number of people I have seen hurt themselves, pass out, bleed, cry is crazy,” Munguia said.

When Scott took the stage, “it all started to happen,” said audience member Anita Amper.

“People went mad. I realized people were dying,” Amper, 22, told CNN.

The crowd “for some reason started to push and leap towards the front of the stage, which squeezed people in front,” Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña told CNN Saturday morning.

“People started to fall, to pass out,” Peña said at a press conference.

Another woman in the crowd, Madeline Eskins, eventually passed out and was apparently taken to safety by the crowd, she wrote in an Instagram post.

As a timer on a screen counted 30 minutes before Scott’s performance, “people compressed against each other and pushed forward and back,” and it gradually got worse, Eskins told CNN Saturday.

“I had constant pressure on my chest, constant pressure on my back. On the side, I was in a hurry,” she said.

“The moment he started singing his first song, I looked at my boyfriend and said, ‘We have to get out of here.’ He said, “I can’t – we can’t,” “recalls Eskins.

“And I just remember looking up and passing out,” then going in and out of consciousness, she said. She remembers being pulled over a fence and finally waking up in a chair for good, she said.

The deadly wave came hours after at least one person was injured when people rushed through a VIP entrance for the event in the afternoon.
And it happened two years after three people were trampled and injured at the same festival as many rushed to enter 2019.
The Friday horror prematurely ended what was supposed to be a two-day event, as Saturday’s game was called off. Astroworld was in its third iteration, having been launched by Houston native Scott in 2018 in the park, which was once the site of the Six Flags Astroworld.

More than 300 people treated at the field hospital

More than 300 people were treated at a field hospital set up near the festival on Friday, Peña said.

One of the hospital patients is 10 years old and, at the last check-up, was in critical condition, Peña told CNN on Saturday morning.

Some of the patients were in cardiac arrest as they were taken to hospital, Peña said. More details on the injuries were not immediately available. The causes of death will be determined by a medical examiner, he said.

The cause of the outbreak was not immediately clear and will be part of an investigation, Peña said.

There were several incidents on Friday where Narcan, a drug used to treat drug overdoses, was administered, Peña said at Saturday night’s press conference.

In a statement on Twitter On Saturday morning, festival organizers said that “our hearts are with the family of the Astroworld festival tonight – especially those we have lost and their loved ones,” and they “are focused on supporting local officials as we can. “.
Scott said separately that he was “absolutely devastated by what happened last night” in a statement posted on Twitter.
“My prayers are with the families and all those who have been touched by what happened at the Astroworld festival,” Scott’s statement read.

“Houston PD has my full support as they continue to address the tragic loss of life,” he continued. “I am committed to working with the Houston community to care for and support families in need. Thanks to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their immediate response and support.”

An aerial view of the festival in Houston on Friday, before the deadly wave.

Members of the crowd attempt CPR on the injured

People who attended Friday’s concert shared on social media the chaos that ensued after the deadly surge of the night. The medical staff were so overwhelmed with the injuries that some members of the public attempted to administer CPR.

Amper, one of the crowd, said he saw a “girl lying on the floor next to me, and we had random people doing CPR on this girl.”

More than 20 minutes passed, she said, before “real medical assistants came.”

Houston Police and event security personnel shut down the concert “as soon as the situation became such that it was beyond resources there,” but at that point, “the damage was done.” said Peña, the fire chief.

Scott has stopped the show at least three times to ask for help from affected viewers, audience members Nick Johnson and Angel Rodriguez told CNN.

“Everyone has just started to push forward”

The crowd has gotten more and more excited over a long period of time, said Johnson, who eventually added “you just feel like there’s a weighted blanket on you.”

Rodriguez said he was about 50 feet from the stage when “everyone just started pushing forward.”

“It was so hard to breathe up there, you just have to wait for it to push back, because if it (the crowd) is pushed forward, it’s probably going to be pushed back,” Rodriguez said.

“When you’re pushed back, people always fall,” he said.

Amper, one of the other spectators, said she had attended the previous two Astroworld events, and that it is not unusual for a crowd to “rage” when Scott appears.

“Everyone pushes everyone,” she said.

An ambulance is seen in the crowd during the Astroworld music festival.

Investigators will review video of the scene and see how the venue was laid out and whether there were enough exit points, Peña said.

The investigation will explore “what caused, one, the problem with the influx of crowds, and two, what prevented people from being able to escape this situation,” said Peña.

Houston Emergency Management Office established a direct line for people who could not contact people known to have attended the concert.

People rushed through the gate hours earlier – and 3 were trampled on in an event two years ago

Earlier today, a video from CNN affiliate KPRC showed many people rushing into a VIP entrance at the event – knocking over metal detectors and sometimes other people, and ignoring staff of security.

The video showed people helping a few others. Peña said he also didn’t know what caused the rush.

“We know people jumped over the fence,” and at least one person was injured in the afternoon scramble, Peña said.

In 2019, three people were trampled on and hospitalized as thousands rushed to enter the festival.

CNN asked Peña if the proceeding led to any special precautions during this year’s event. “Obviously if they did, they weren’t enough,” Peña replied.

This year’s festival was to feature artists such as SZA, Bad Bunny and 21 Savage.

The mayor of Houston offered his condolences Twitter relatives of those killed.

Authorities are looking into “everything” to find out what happened, Mayor Turner told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield on Saturday.

“We’re definitely watching all of the video footage. We’re talking to witnesses. We’re talking to event planners,” Turner said.

CNN’s Rosa Flores reported from Houston. Maya Brown reported from New York. Jason Hanna wrote in Atlanta. Claudia Dominguez, Jenn Selva, Christi Paul, Aya Elamroussi, Andy Rose, Tonju Francois and Keith Allen contributed.

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Corina C. Butler

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