Eight people were killed and numerous others were injured on Friday night in what was described as a surge of the crowd toward the stage while rapper Travis Scott was performing. Officials have said the surge of people sparked panic at the Astroworld music festival resulting in the tragedy.
Authorities declared a “mass casualty incident” just after 9 p.m. Friday at the Astroworld music festival, during the Travis Scott concert. There were an estimated 50,000 people in attendance according to Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena told reporters at a news conference.
Ambulances transported 17 people to hospitals, including 11 who were in cardiac arrest, Pena said. He also said that a field hospital was created at the scene at NRG Park, with at least 300 getting examined at that site.
Pena commented “The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries. People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.”
The eight people who lost their lives have not been identified and it is not clear what was the exactly cause of death.
Travis Scott was seen several times during his performance stopping to tell his security that people needed help in the crowd, and that is confirmed by a video released to media.
“It happened all at once. It seemed like it just happened, over the course of just a few minutes,” Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said. “Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode.”
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner called for calm and urged people not to jump 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. “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,” he added.
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. Saturday’s performances have been canceled.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted, “The city of Houston extends our condolences to the loved ones of eight people killed and several injured at the Astroworld festival. Organizers held the event to bring people together for music, but it sadly ended in tragedy. Thanks to police, fire and other agencies that responded to assist.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbot also commented saying he has made state resources available to help with the investigation.
“What happened at Astroworld Festival last night was tragic, and our hearts are with those who lost their lives and those who were injured in the terrifying crowd surge. I ask Texans to join Cecilia and me in lifting up in prayer those affected by this tragedy.”