HOUSTON (AP) – Screaming. Suffocating. In panic. Unconscious.
Viewers of the highly anticipated Houston music festival Friday night say they were shocked to see the event escalate into hell, which killed at least eight people.
Rapper Travis Scott was the headliner of the sold-out Astroworld festival at NRG Park, which attracted nearly 50,000 people.
Here, some of them describe the chaos they are still trying to understand.
Ariel Little from New York was in the middle of the crowd in the best place to watch with her husband for just a short minute before she started fighting.
While trying to escape from an increasingly crowded place, the couple realized how dangerous it was.
Little’s voice trembled with excitement as she described how small she felt panting when the crowd beat her.
“My chest is in great pain from people pushing and crushing – literally crushing – my chest and lungs. And all I remember is just a cry about him. “I must go! I must go! “And the people didn’t move,” Little said. “They thought it was a joke, but it looked like people were dying.”
Her husband, Sean, quickly scanned the scene to find a way out.
“There were a lot of people in my department who kind of screamed and had panic attacks just because it felt like you were under the elevator and the elevator was coming down on you, and you couldn’t do anything about it,” said Sean Little. “Nobody moved in my section at the time because I think everyone was just shocked at how crazy and how scared everyone was. There was a lot of fear in the eyes of the people. “
Madeline Eskins, an ICU nurse, said she was one of the festival goers who passed out when a mass of people pressed against the stage. To receive medical attention, she was taken to a less crowded place, where she woke up.
Eskins, 23, from Houston said she then saw someone nearby who needed medical attention and told them she was a nurse. According to Eskins, when a guard overheard her, he asked if she could start helping others.
“There were three people on earth who were given artificial respiration, and it was the most erratic chaos I have ever seen in my life,” Eskins said.
Eskins said she tried to teach medical staff and volunteers how to use a defibrillator, and helped check the pulse and give CPR compressions to several people.
“When the main artist came out – like Travis – people kind of shrank because they just wanted to see him,” Sal Salinas said. “It was like you suffocated there. If you weren’t on the side or something like that, you were suffocating. “
Niara Goes, 28, from New York, said the crowd rose when the timer clicked ahead of the show.
“As soon as he jumped onto the stage, it was like the energy took over and everything went awry. Suddenly your ribs break. You have someone’s hand behind your neck. You try to breathe, but you can’t, ”said Goodz, who came to Texas to see friends and celebrate his birthday.
She said that she and her friends, one of whom received a blow to the head and jaw, were quickly separated from each other, but they all fled. Goods said she was trying so desperately to get out of here that she bit the man on the shoulder to get him to move.
“Some people laugh at us – those who shout to leave. Because they thought it was funny. They didn’t realize that it was horror, ”she said.
Later, after getting out of a safe place, she saw the wounded flee to safety on gurneys or in wheelchairs.
“It was literally the scariest night of my life. I literally thought I was going to die trying to get out. You just don’t have to pay for it, ”she said.
Gary Gaston, 52, from Houston, said he went to the concert with his ex-wife, their 14-year-old son, and a friend of the teenager.
They felt so threatened after just a few of Scott’s songs that they decided to leave and meet outside the medical tent.
When Gaston and his ex-wife arrived shortly after 10:00 pm, he said they saw medical personnel begin bringing at least eight people into the tent on gurneys, most of whom did not appear to respond.
“It was surreal because you see these people being dragged out on gurneys and people running into the medical tent, but the music is still playing,” Gaston said. “The people in the arena didn’t know about it.”
Gavin Flores said people kept trying to escape to places where there was nothing to spare, while others tried to fight their way to the barricades to jump off to safety.
“They couldn’t get there because there were people who wanted to block them, so these people had to deal with it like they couldn’t get out of the show,” Flores said. “They were like chanting ‘Stop the show! And there was a guy in the back who was being given artificial respiration. So many people were doing artificial respiration as if it were absurd. “
Julian Ponce said there were signs of injury but did not realize the deaths until he returned home.
“It was mind blowing, like we heard people say, ‘Stop the show’ all the time. Stop the show, ”but we didn’t know what was going on. We heard that someone is bleeding. We heard a lot but weren’t sure, ”Ponce said. “I don’t even know how to feel. It’s just breathtaking. “
Associated Press reporter Acacia Coronado contributed from Austin, Texas.