Crush at Travis Scott concert in Houston kills at least eight in ‘mass casualty incident’
HOUSTON — A crush of rap music fans pushing toward the stage during Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in Houston killed at least eight people and injured many more as panic rippled through the packed crowd, officials said on Saturday.
The disaster unfolded at NRG Park at around 9 p.m. on Friday during the headline performance by Scott, a Grammy Award-winning singer and producer. As some in the sold-out audience of about 50,000 surged toward the stage, some began to fall unconscious, apparently suffering cardiac arrest or other medical issues, officials told reporters outside the venue. Minutes later the chaos was declared a “mass casualty incident.”
“It happened all at once. It seemed like it just happened … over the course of just a few minutes,” said Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite.
“It felt like we was in a concert in hell, you couldn’t breathe, you couldn’t see,” a concert-goer with the Twitter handle @officialshaane said in a video posted online.
It was not yet clear what caused the disaster. An investigation was underway that is likely to focus on security and safety protocols at the event.
Two weeks ago, organizers of another Houston concert canceled it abruptly after fans pushed through a gate and stormed into a Playboi Carti show being held within the same NRG Park complex.
Astroworld, a two-day music festival that was scheduled to culminate with Saturday’s performances, had a similar breech at about 2:30 p.m. Friday and went ahead with the show, according to TV reports.
“I think it’s very important that none of us speculate. Nobody has all the answers tonight,” Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said at a news conference.
In an interview with CNN, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña described how the crush of fans quickly overwhelmed the private security hired for the festival’s first day.