At least 8 dead after “panic” at music festival


At least eight people have died after a wave of crowds at the sold-out Astroworld music festival Friday in Houston, the city’s fire chief said.

Another 17 people were taken to hospitals after the crash, and 11 who were taken by ambulance were in cardiac arrest, officials said. They added that more than 300 people were treated throughout the event on Friday at a field hospital on site.

About 50,000 people attended the event at NRG Park, hosted by rapper and producer Travis Scott, which kicked off on Friday. The festival, which is in its third year, was scheduled to last two days, but officials said Saturday’s lineup has been canceled.

Fire Chief Samuel Peña told a press conference early Saturday that “the crowd started to compress towards the front of the stage” around 9:15 p.m. local time (10:15 p.m. ET).

“It caused some panic and started causing injuries. People started to fall, pass out, and it created further panic,” he said, adding that no cause of death was was not yet known for the eight victims but would be determined. .

“It was scary, really,” festival-goer Alleighya Odom, 21, told NBC News, adding that the compact crowd “was like this force on my back, this force continues.”

“I started looking around, and there are people on the floor. There are people looking at me, like, scared, goofy eyes, like, ‘Please help me’ “she said. “There are people behind me who cry because they are stepped on.”

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Odom, who has been to Astroworld since 2018, said she moved to a less traveled area because she had a broken ankle and feared further injuring her.

She added that she didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until she saw frantic messages from her mother asking if she was safe.

“It’s just crazy,” she said.

Scott had stopped the show several times to ask fans for help, she added.

Images posted on social media also showed the rapper pausing his performance, and The Houston Chronicle reported the performer interrupted her act several times throughout the show after spotting distressed fans near the stage.

Houston Police Department Deputy Chief Larry Satterwhite, who was near the start of the concert, told a press conference that the situation had developed rapidly.

“It seems like it happened in a matter of minutes – all of a sudden we had several people on the ground going through some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode,” he said. declared. “We immediately started doing CPR.”

At a subsequent press conference, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said there were “many rumors going around” about the incident, including “rumors of people injecting themselves with drugs to some people “.

Urging people not to speculate, he said police were determined to “make sure we find out what happened”, adding that Scott and festival organizers were cooperating with police.

Earlier today, several people were injured as festival-goers rushed through the main entrance, affiliated with NBC Houston KPRC reported.

Odom said she thought it was “the first sign” of chaos to come to the show.

“As soon as people started running I was like, ‘Oh, no … this is going to be crazy,'” she said. “And the way people were rushing, it was really violent. They were ripping off the bracelets of the people in the line.”

Finner said the deaths and injuries were unrelated to this rushed entry, as the concert crash happened much later.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said some as young as 10 were taken to hospital.

“Our hearts are broken,” she said. “People go to these events looking for a good time, a chance to relax, to create memories – this is not the kind of event you go to to find deaths.”

The organizers of the Astroworld festival said in a Facebook post that their hearts are with “those we have lost and their loved ones.”

They said they were cooperating with the police and encouraged anyone with information about what had happened in the crowd to speak with the authorities.

Governor Greg Abbott said what happened at the festival was “tragic” and thanked first responders and the Good Samaritans for their help.

“The State of Texas is ready to assist with the response, and I have asked the Texas Department of Public Safety to make state resources available to support the investigation,” he wrote. in a press release. declaration.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he called for a “detailed briefing with all stakeholders,” including law enforcement, Live Nation and NRG Park, to find out how the festival “got out of hand.”

“What happened at the Astroworld Festival was a tragedy,” he wrote. “It was a major event that happened in the town and on Harris County property. Law enforcement will speak with concert promoters and witnesses today and review available videos. from the event and inside the festival venue. “

Scott, 29, is from Houston. He launched the Astroworld Festival in 2018 in his hometown as an annual event. The festival did not take place in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

His 2018 hit “Sicko Mode” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 that year. He was nominated for eight Grammy Awards, most notably for this song and the album “Astroworld”.

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