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Benny Worthy Jr. 3:26 am
At least eight people were killed and hundreds more injured Friday night following a crowd surge during Travis Scott’s set at the rapper’s Astroworld festival in Houston. More than 300 people were treated for injuries following the incident, Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña said during a Saturday morning press conference, with 23 people taken to area hospitals, 11 in critical condition, including a 10-year-old boy.
While the officials didn’t announce the victims of the tragedy at a Saturday afternoon press conference, they revealed the ages of those who died: 14 years old, 16, 21, 21, 23, 23, 27 and one of unknown age. Six of the eight victims’ families had been notified at the time of the press conference.
The incident occurred around 9 p.m. during Scott’s set, with the crowd compressing toward the stage, causing total chaos. “The crowd for whatever reason began to push and surge towards the front of the stage, which caused the people in the front to be compressed,” Peña said. “They were unable to escape that situation.”
The concert was ultimately stopped by organizers and authorities, but by then “the damage had been done,” Peña said. The Saturday lineup of the two-day festival was also canceled. Scott said in a statement Saturday morning, “I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night. My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival. Houston PD has my total support as they continues to look into the tragic loss of life. I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need. Thank you Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their immediate response and support. Love you all.”
“Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival family tonight — especially those we lost and their loved ones,” organizers said in a statement. “We are focused on supporting local officials however we can. With that in mind, the festival will no longer be held on Saturday.” Organizers continued, “As authorities mentioned in their press conference earlier, they are looking into the series of cardiac arrests that took place. If you have any relevant information on this, please reach out to Houston Police.”
Investigators will next look into “what caused, one, the issue of the crowd surge, and two, what prevented people from being able to escape that situation,” Peña added. While medical units were already stationed at the festival as a precaution, the available units were “quickly overwhelmed” following the incident.“I’m sending investigators to the hospitals because we just don’t know,” Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner said. “We’re going to do an investigation and find out, because it’s not fair to producers, to anybody else involved, until we determine what happened, what caused the surge.” Finner added that they had not yet identified all of the deceased.
Finner added at the Saturday afternoon press conference that there were 25 arrests in total at the festival, 23 of those were trespassing, one for possession of marijuana and one for public intoxication.
The incident is reminiscent of a pair of concert tragedies that resulted from crowd surges: In 1979, 11 people were killed prior to a show by the Who in Cincinnati after fans attempted to rush into the arena. In June 2000, nine fans were trampled to death in the mosh pit of Pearl Jam’s concert at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark.
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