Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Astroworld concert victims identified in weekend tragedy

HOUSTON (AP) – Authorities released the names of eight people killed at a Houston concert on Monday, as investigators watched videos, interviewed witnesses and reviewed procedures to try to determine what went wrong when the crowd gathered together. reached the stage during the performance. Rapper Travis Scott.

Hundreds more were injured when the tragedy unfolded at a sold-out Astroworld festival on Friday night. About 50,000 people attended the event.

Read more: Border agent, dancer, engineer identified dead at Astroworld concert

Michelle Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, said medical examiners still had not released the cause of death, which could take several weeks.

“It’s not the fault of the crowd, because you had no way to move, it was like a massive loss of control,” said Ben Castro, 19, who was a 19-year-old. Notes, T-shirts and candles are included. He said he didn’t know if anyone had died until the next day.

According to Harris County officials, the dead ranged in age from 14 to 27 and were from Texas, Illinois and Washington. They included high school students, an aspiring Border Patrol agent, and a computer science student.

Investigators plan to investigate the design of safety barriers and the use of crowd control in the incident Scott set up. More than 300 people were treated at a field hospital and at least 13 remained hospitalized on Sunday.

Houston police and fire department investigators said they would review videos taken by concert promoter Live Nation, as well as dozens of clips of people on the show. Investigators also planned to speak with representatives of Live Nation, Scott and the concerts.

More than a dozen lawsuits had been filed as of Monday, and Live Nation announced it was delaying ticket sales for a Billy Joel concert at a different venue in Houston. The promoter said Monday it was assisting officials so that “fans who participated and their families can get the answers they want and deserve.”

According to county records in Texas, Contemporary Services Corp., headquartered in Los Angeles, was responsible for security staff at the festival. Representatives from the company – which advertises online as “a worldwide leader, specialist and recognized as the only employee-owned company in the crowd management field” – did not respond to emails and phone messages seeking comment.

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Astroworld’s organizers set out safety and emergency medical response protocols in festival plans filed in Harris County. The 56-page operating plan, obtained by the Associated Press, “identifies the potential for multiple alcohol/drug-related incidents, potential evacuation needs, and the current threat of mass casualties as major concerns.”

The plan instructs employees to notify Event Control of a suspected deceased victim using a “Smurf” code. It further says, “Never use the word ‘dead’ or ‘dead’ on the radio.” It is not clear whether the protocol was followed.

None of the listed people in charge of managing Astroworld’s security and operations have responded to requests for comment.
Steven Edelman, vice president of the industry group Event Safety Alliance — which was formed in 2011 after a stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair killed seven people — helped write the current industry guidelines.

In addition to looking at safety barriers and whether they guided the crowd correctly or contributed to the crush, Edelman said, officials will consider whether the crowd provoked anything other than Scott going on stage.

Another question, Edelman said, is whether there were enough security personnel, given the nationwide lack of people willing to take low-paying, part-time security gigs.

Watch: Houston music reporter’s eyewitness account of concert tragedy and investigation

“Security was apparently unable to stop people. Alternatively, it’s going to look really bad,” he said. “But as far as it tells us, it’s too early to say.”

In the video posted to social media, Scott is seen at one point stopping the concert and asking for help for someone in the audience: “Safety, someone helps really quickly.”

Music festivals as well as sporting and religious events have a long history of similar devastation. In 1979, 11 people were killed as thousands of fans tried to go to Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum to watch a concert by The Who. Other mob catastrophes include the deaths of 97 people at a football match at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England in 1989, and several disasters related to the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

In a tweet posted on Saturday, Scott said he was “absolutely devastated by what happened.” He pledged to work “together with the Houston community to heal and support families in need.”

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