Crowd surge kills at the minimum 8 at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in …

HOUSTON (AP) — Fans attending a Houston music festival surged toward the stage during a performance by rapper Travis Scott, triggering panic in the crowd of tens of thousands. at the minimum eight people were killed and many more hurt, authorities said.

The chaos unfolded Friday evening at Astroworld, a sold-out, two-day event at the NRG Park stadium. An estimated 50,000 people were in attendance.

“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 a news conference. “People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it produced additional panic.”

Seventeen people were taken to hospitals, including 11 who were in cardiac arrest, Peña said, and “scores of individuals” were injured.

Festival goers are seen rushing into the VIP area prior to Travis Scott performing during day one of the Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Houston. Several people died and numerous others were injured in what officials described as a surge of the crowd at the music festival while Scott was performing. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

Event organizers had arranged for medical teams to be at the festival. But once the crowd surge began, those teams were “quickly overwhelmed,” the fire chief said.

In a video posted to social media, Scott could be seen stopping the concert at one point and asking for aid for someone in the audience: “Security, somebody help real quick.”

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

“Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some kind of cardiac arrest or some kind of medical episode,” Satterwhite said. “And so we closest started doing CPR and moving people right then.”

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

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner called for calm and urged people not to jump to conclusions about what caused the surge.

“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,” he said.

It was not clear whether all eight who died were among the 17 people who were taken to hospitals. Many people were also treated at the scene, where a field hospital had been set up. About 300 people were examined at that site throughout the day, the fire chief said.

Authorities did not closest know the causes of death, and the dead were not closest identified. A medical examiner planned to probe.

Videos posted to social media theorized whether or not Scott knew — or to what extent he knew — of the events as they happened.

Scott was also criticized for not closest stopping the performance.

One graphic video on Twitter, appears to show a concertgoer explaining to others why he’s yelling for Scott to stop.

“People are f—— dying,” the man says.

In another video, Scott appears to continue singing as a person on the ground is being attended to.

Later in the show, Scott reportedly continued hyping the crowd to “rage,” saying “Ya’ll know what we came to do.” The concept of “raging” is being noted Saturday morning as a important of the rapper’s live shows, with many wondering if it may have contributed to the night’s events.

“Travis Scott is going to have to overthink his branding & imagery after yesterday,” hip-hop news and content account Squirt Reynolds tweeted. “Say what you want, but the foul behavior of some of those who were there yesterday is a direct consequence of the “rager” aesthetic he’s been promoting for years. I say that as a fan, seen him live too.”

In a statement on Saturday morning, Scott said:

“I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night. My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival. Houston PD has my total sustain as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life…”

Travis Scott

The rapper additional he’s committed to working with the Houston community to sustain families in need.

Scott, one of music’s biggest young stars, released two new songs earlier Friday, “Mafia” and “Escape Plan.” 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’s pregnant with their second child.

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

A representative for Scott did not closest respond to an inquiry from The Associated Press.

Officials set up a reunification center at a hotel for family members who had not been able to reach relatives at the event. Authorities sought to connect families with festivalgoers who were taken to the hospital, “some as young as 10” years old, said Harris County estimate Lina Hidalgo, the county’s top elected official.

Scott established the Astroworld Festival in 2018, and it has taken place at the former site of Six Flags AstroWorld each year since, except for 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement Saturday morning, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in part: “Thank you to the first responders and good Samaritans who were on site and closest tended to those who were injured in the crowd. The State of Texas is ready assist in the response, and I have directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to make state resources obtainable to sustain the investigation.”

The deaths called to mind a 1979 concert by The Who where 11 people died and about two dozen were injured as thousands of fans tried to get into Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum.

Other music events that resulted in fatalities in recent years include the Las Vegas shooting massacre in 2017, when a gunman perched in a hotel window killed 58 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, the so-called Ghost Ship fire in 2016 that killed 36 people in a California warehouse during a dance party and a 2003 nightclub fire that killed 100 people in Rhode Island.

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