At least eight people are dead and dozens more injured after a sold-out crowd of roughly 50,000 surged during rapper Travis Scott’s performance late Friday at the Astroworld Festival outside NRG Park, overwhelming security forces and resulting in one of the deadliest concerts in U.S. history.
As Scott’s performance started shortly after 9 p.m., the chaotic crowd seemingly swallowed everyone in it, Instagram user SeannaFaith wrote.
“The rush of people became tighter and tighter. .. Breathing became something only a few were capable. The rest were crushed or unable to breathe in the thick hot air,” she wrote. “It was like watching a Jenga tower topple. Person after person were sucked down…. You were at the mercy of the wave.”
“We begged security to help us, for the performer to see us and know something was wrong,” she continued. “None of that came, we continued to drown.”
Then, one person fell. And another.
“We had a mass casualty event here at Astroworld,” Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said.
Seventeen people were taken to the hospital, 11 of whom Peña described as being in cardiac arrest. Eight are confirmed dead. Some of the victims might be children.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo called it an “extremely tragic night,” as families awaited word on whether their loved ones were safe. The Houston Police Department is in the process of identifying victims at hospitals, and a reunification center was set up at the Wyndham Houston Hotel at 8686 Kirby. People searching for loved ones can also call 832-393-2991 or 832-393-2990.
“Our hearts are broken,” Hidalgo said. “People go to these events looking for a good time. It’s not the kind of event where you expect to find out about fatalities.”
The news conference with Mayor Turner and Judge Hidalgo came on while I was drafting this, which confirmed that the casualty count remains at eight, including two people under the age of 18, and that there were no people known to be missing at that time. There will be an investigation into how this happened. My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by this tragedy.