Friday, November 26, 2021

At least 8 killed as crowds gather at Houston music festival

HOUSTON (NWN) – The crowd turned violently toward the stage during a performance by rapper Travis Scott at a Houston concert, squeezing fans so tightly together they couldn’t breathe or move their arms, witnesses said. Said on Saturday, at least eight hours later. died in the chaos.

The pandemic was exposed on Friday evening at Astroworld, a sold-out two-day event at the NRG Park Stadium. An estimated 50,000 people were in attendance. It was not clear what triggered the crowd.

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pea said the crowd “shrinked toward the front of the stage” causing panic and some injuries. Then “people started falling, fainting, and it created additional panic.”

Seventeen people, Pena said, were taken to hospitals, including 11 with heart failure, and “many people” were injured.

Witnesses reported a lot of pushing and pushing during the performance of Scott up to the set.

When Scott took the stage, the crowd was trying to get closer to the stage, trying to get closer to the stage, said Nick Johnson, a high school senior in the Houston suburb of Friendswood, who was at a concert with friends. .

“It just got worse and worse. Everyone was like you can’t breathe,” said Johnson, who was near the front of the stage in the middle of the crowd.

Johnson said fans began to giggle at each other and people started shouting. He said it felt like there was 100 degrees in the crowd, which was so dense that he and his friends couldn’t move.

“Everyone was passing by you, and everyone was trying to help each other. But you couldn’t move. You couldn’t do anything. You can’t even lift your arms,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Scott knew something was going on in the crowd, but could not understand the gravity of the situation.

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

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

Houston Police Acting Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite, who was at the forefront of the crowd, said the surge “happened all at once.”

“All of a sudden we had several people on the ground, experiencing some kind of cardiac arrest or some kind of medical episode,” Saterwhite said. “And so we started doing CPR right away and moving people right away.”

Satterwhite said he quickly met with the promoters, who agreed to end the program “in the interest of public safety”.

Amy Harris, a freelance photographer for the Associated Press, described an “aggressive” crowd environment throughout the day due to the behavior of the fans – the stage’s barricades pushing and running and VIPs and entry areas restricted.

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“It was definitely the most chaotic festival atmosphere I’ve been in,” Harris said. “I felt restless all day.”

She got trapped behind a barricade while photographing artist Don Tolliver as about 300 fans flocked to the area. They ended up behind security barricades with him.

Harris said that he encountered a similar scene on a different stage for the lead role. She left the media pit after three songs due to disorder, which resulted in people being pulled over security barricades to seek medical help.

At one point, Gerardo Abad-García was pressed so tightly into the crowd that he could not take his arms off his chest. During Toliver’s performance, which had preceded Scott’s appearance, he began to worry for his safety.

“I just couldn’t breathe. I was being compressed,” he said. A security guard helped him and the others climb the fence and get out.

He described the crowd during Scott’s set as a wave that was “going back and forth.”

Some people lost their shoes, and the ground was littered with clothes, water bottles and other garbage. He said that some people tried to help those who had fainted on the ground, while other concert goers ignored them and continued to watch the show.

After Scott’s concert, Abad-Garcia watched medical personnel perform CPR on someone who appeared to be unconscious as the person was carried on a golf cart.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finer urged people not to jump to conclusions about what caused the surge.

“I think it’s very important that none of us guess. No one has all the answers tonight,” Finer said.

Authorities did not immediately know the cause of death, and the dead were not immediately identified. A medical examiner planned to investigate.

Scott, one of music’s biggest young stars, found the Astroworld Festival in 2018, and it has taken place every year at Six Flags Astroworld’s former site, except in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 29-year-old Houston native has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards. He has a 3-year-old daughter with Kylie Jenner, who announced in September that she is pregnant with their second child.

Drake Scott joined on-stage at the concert – which was livestreamed by Apple Music – and posted photos to Instagram after the performance.

Authorities set up a reunion center at a hotel for family members who were unable to reach relatives at the event. The county’s top elected official, Harris County Judge Lena Hidalgo, said officials sought to connect the families to fans who were taken to hospital, “some under the age of 10”.

Deaths called for by The Who in keeping with 1979 concert Where thousands of fans tried to break into Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum, 11 people were killed and nearly two dozen were injured.


Associated Press writers David Sharp in Portland, Maine, and Desiree Seals in Atlanta contributed to this report.


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