A "mass casualty incident" occurred on Friday night during the sold-out Astroworld music festival in Houston, Texas. At least eight people are dead following a surge of concert-goers who pushed their way closer to the stage during a performance by rapper Travis Scott.
There were an estimated 50,000 people in attendance at the music festival held at NRG Park – where the event turned deadly around 9 p.m. when the Houston native rapper took the stage.
"The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries," Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña told reporters at a news conference. "People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic."
Peña said the Houston Fire Department transported 17 patients to the hospital, "11 of those transported were in cardiac arrest." One 10-year-old child was critically injured, according to Fox News. At least 300 patients were seen at an onsite field hospital throughout the day.
Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite – who was near the front of the crowd – said the massive surge "happened all at once." He added that security knew at that moment it was time to end the concert prematurely.
"Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode," Satterwhite said. "And so we immediately started doing CPR, and moving people right then, and that's when I went and met with the promoters, and Live Nation, and they agreed to end early in the interest of public safety."
"A lot of times, kids don't make the best decisions," Satterwhite added. "Because they're young and amped up…. I just think it was so many people — and passion — to see this entertainer. I don't know, and a lot of bad decisions"
Video from the concert shows people dancing on top of an emergency vehicle attempting to attend to those in distress.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said an investigation is needed to discover what caused the deadly event.
"I think it's very important that none of us speculate. Nobody has all the answers tonight," Finner said. "We're going to do an investigation and find out because it's not fair to the producers, to anybody else involved, until we determine what happened, what caused the surge. We don't know, but we will find out."
Finner also said they are working to confirm the identities of the deceased. He noted that the event had a "good security plan," with 367 police officers and 241 security officers on hand.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said, "Our hearts are broken. People go to these events looking for a good time, a chance to unwind, to make memories. It's not the kind of event you go to where you expect to find out about fatalities. … Obviously, this is the last place we want to be – especially after we've been through so much as a community. But we have incredibly capable law enforcement officials here."
Organizers of the Astroworld Festival released a statement on Saturday morning:
Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival family tonight - especially those we lost and their loved ones. We are focused on supporting local officials however we can. With that in mind the festival will no longer be held on Saturday. As authorities mentioned in their press conference earlier, they are looking into the series of cardiac arrests that took place. If you have any relevant information on this, please reach out to Houston Police. Thank you to our partners at the Houston Police Department, Fire Department, and NRG Park for their response and support
Earlier Friday, a mob stormed through barricades to enter the festival. Around 2 p.m., people are seen on the ground being trampled by the crowd. There were reportedly three injuries linked to the storming of the venue gates.
(CAUTION: Graphic video)
Day 2 of the Astroworld Festival that was scheduled for Saturday has been canceled.
Stampede At Astroworld Festival In Houston Leaves At Least 8 Dead www.youtube.com