Texas officials said at least eight people were dead and several injured following a wave of crowds at the Astroworld festival on Friday night.
A squeeze to the stage occurred just after 9 p.m. as rapper Travis Scott performed, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pea told reporters.
The crowd started to compress towards the front of the stage, which caused some panic and started causing injuries, Pea said. People started to fall unconscious and this created further panic.
The show was canceled shortly after several people were injured.
Senior Houston Police Officer Larry Satterwhite was near the front of the crowd. He said it looked like the flare happened all at once.
Suddenly we had several people on the ground experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode, he said.
And so we immediately started doing CPR and moving people around at that point, and that’s when I went to meet with the promoters and Live Nation, and they agreed to end early. in the interest of public safety.
Drake joined Scott on stage at the concert, which was broadcast live by Apple Music, and posted photos to Instagram after the performance.
The Houston Chronicle said Scott stopped several times during his 75-minute set when he spotted fans in distress. He asked security to make sure they were okay and to help them out of the crowd. Emergency vehicles, with flashing lights and alarms, drove through the crowds on several occasions.
Firefighters said on Twitter that a collection center at a hotel had been set up for families who had not heard from loved ones at the festival.
[Its] obviously a very extremely tragic night, said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. Our hearts are broken. Tonight, however, the focus must be on the families and the lives we have lost. Many of them extremely young, tragically young.
Authorities transported 17 people to hospital, 11 of them with cardiac arrest, Pea said. Many were treated on site at NRG Park, where a field hospital has been set up.
About 50,000 people were in attendance at the festival, Pea said, adding that officials did not immediately know the causes of death of the eight people and that a medical examiner would investigate. The deceased was not immediately identified.
Astroworld was a two-day festival, but the Saturday performances were canceled. The event was sold out, according to its website.
The promoters of the event had arranged for medical units to be on site, but once the influx of crowds started, those units were quickly overwhelmed, Pea said.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner called for calm and urged people not to jump to conclusions.
I think it’s very important that none of us speculate. No one has all the answers tonight, Finner said, adding that there had been several rumors surrounding the event authorities would be looking into.
We were going to investigate and find out because it’s not fair to the producers, to anyone else involved, until we figure out what happened, what caused the surge. We don’t know, but we will.
It was the highest death toll at an American concert since the Station nightclub fire, which killed 100 people in Rhode Island in 2003. In 1979, 11 people died and about two dozen were injured while as thousands of fans were trying to enter the Cincinnatis Riverfront Coliseum to see The Who Perform.
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