Authorities in Houston are investigating a crush at opening night of Astroworld music festival where at least eight people were killed and many others injured after a surge of fans pushing toward the stage, officials said on Saturday (November 6).
Authorities set up a reunification center at a nearby hotel for families who had not heard from loved ones at the festival.
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña confirmed the casualty figures from Friday night’s disaster at a news conference early on Saturday outside NRG Park. A sold-out audience of about 50,000 people attended the first day of the festival featuring rapper Travis Scott.
At around 9 p.m., the crowd that had gathered for Scott’s performance began to push toward the front of the stage, causing panic and injuries.
People began to fall unconscious, and the mayhem escalated until 9:38 p.m., when a “mass casualty incident” was triggered, Peña said.
The fire department transported 17 people to hospitals, and 11 of those were in cardiac arrest.
It was not yet clear what caused the disaster. An investigation was underway.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner told reporters that the organizers and Scott were both cooperating with police.
Astroworld Fest said in a Twitter message, adding it was canceling Saturday’s second day of the festival.
Scott stopped multiple times during his 75-minute performance when he spotted fans in distress near the front of the stage, the Houston Chronicle reported. He asked security to make sure they were safe and help them out of the crowd. Emergency vehicles, lights and alarms flashing cut through the crowds several times.
Houston-born Scott came to fame in the early 2010s for his unique vocal style. Astroworld is also the name of his third studio album released in 2018 to critical acclaim.
Scott and Kylie Jenner, from the famed Kardashian family, have a daughter.
(Production: Arlene Eiras)