HOUSTON (AP) – Officials in Texas say at least eight people have been killed and several more injured in the surge in crowds at the Astroworld festival.
The wave broke out just after 9 p.m. on Friday when rapper Travis Scott spoke, Houston fire chief Samuel Peña told reporters at a press conference.
“The crowd began to shrink towards the front of the stage, which caused some panic and caused some injuries,” said the fire chief. “People started to fall out, lose consciousness, and this created additional panic.”
The show was canceled shortly after several people began to get injured.
Peña said 17 people were admitted to the hospital, including 11 with cardiac arrest. Many people were also treated at the scene of the accident at NRG Park, where a field hospital was opened.
According to Peña, about 50,000 people attended the festival.
The fire chief added that officials did not immediately find out the reasons for the death of eight people. The medical examiner is investigating. As of the beginning of Saturday, the identity of the deceased has not been established.
Officials set up a reunification center at the hotel for family members who were unable to contact relatives who attended the event.
Astroworld is a two-day music festival to be held Friday and Saturday in Houston. Tickets for the event have been sold out, Astroworld reports. Saturday shows canceled.
Event organizers organized the presence of medical units at the festival, however, as soon as the crowd surge began, these units were “quickly overcrowded,” Peña said.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner called for calm and urged people not to jump to conclusions as to what caused the surge.
“I think it is very important that none of us speculate. Today, no one knows the answers to all the questions, ”Finner said. He added that there were rumors around the event that the authorities would investigate the case.
“We’re going to investigate and find out because it’s not fair to the producers, to anyone else, until we figure out what happened, what caused the splash,” he said. “We don’t know, but we will find out.”