Astroworld: Everything we know about the US festival crush

Astroworld: Everything we know about the US festival crush

Eight people have died and hundreds have been injured following a “crowd surge” at rapper Travis Scotts' Astroworld Festival in Houston on Friday night.

Around 50,000 people were in attendance at the sold-out opening night of the two-day festival.

The tragedy happened when attendees reportedly pushed towards the front of the stage, leaving some unable to breathe.

Speaking on Saturday at a press conference, city officials promised to leave no stone unturned as they complete a full investigation into the tragedy. Meanwhile, at least three concert-goers are now suing Travis Scott and Astroworld organisers.

Here’s everything we know about the incident:

What happened at the festival?

On Friday afternoon several people were hurt and metal detectors were knocked over as people tried to get into the festival grounds, according to KPRC.

ABC13 Houston reporter Mycah Hatfield recorded “a stampede” going through the gates.

Scott appeared on-stage at around 9pm. Shortly after, the surge started.

Fire chief Samuel Peña said the crowd began to “compress” towards the front of the stage.

This led to some panic, and it started causing injuries. He said: “People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.”

Speaking to the Associated Press, Houston police executive assistant chief Larry Satterwhite said he was close to the front of the crowd at the time of the surge. He said: “Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode.”

ICU nurse Madeline Eskins told FOX26 Houston that she was near the front of the stage when the surge began. She passed out during the crush but her boyfriend and security officials were able to get her to safety.

She said: “I really, truly thought that I was going to get crushed to the point where my trachea was going to get crushed, my chest. I thought I was going to die. I was about to tell my boyfriend to tell my son that I loved him and before I could say anything, I fainted.”

After recovering, Eskins helped others who needed medical support.

At 9:38pm a “mass casualty event” was declared and at around 10:10pm, the concert was shut down according toCNN.

Some of the casualties were reported to be as young as 10 years old.

A reunification centre was set up at the Wyndham Houston to allow concertgoers and their loved ones to find each other.

Videos circulated on Twitter and TikTok showing scenes from inside the venue, including people receiving medical attention.

A video emerged on social media showing a young woman and man climbing a camera platform and shouting: “There’s someone dead in there!”

Other footage shows the crowd chanting: “Stop the show”.

Who were the victims?

Those who died ranged in age between 14 and 27 years old.

Danish Baig, 27, was killed while trying to save his fiancee, Olivia Swingle. Speaking to Dallas News Baig’s brother Basil said: “We want you guys to know our brother was the most amazing person ever to us.” He said he took care of their father, mother, brother and said “he died trying to save the love of his life”.

Franco Patino, 21, was a University of Dayton student who majored in mechanical engineering technology with a minor in human movement biomechanics. Speaking to People, his brother Julio Patino Jr said he was “always going above and beyond and helping others”.

Jacob Jurinek, 20, attended the gig with his best friend, Patino. He was a student at the  Southern Illinois University Carbondale. In a statement, his family said: “Jake was beloved by his family and by his seemingly countless number of friends for his contagious enthusiasm, his boundless energy, and his unwavering positive attitude.”

Brianna Rodriguez, 16, was a junior at Heights High School. In a Facebook post, her family said: “Dancing was her passion and now she’s dancing her way to heaven’s pearly gates.”

John Hilgert, 14, was the youngest victim of Friday’s tragedy. The teenager was in the ninth grade at the Memorial High School in Hedwig Village Texas. Principal Lisa Weir said: “Our hearts go out to the student’s family and to his friends and our staff at Memorial. This is a terrible loss, and the entire MHS family is grieving today.”

Rudy Peña, 23, was studying criminology at Laredo College. Speaking to Rolling Stone, his sister Jennifer said he was the “sweetest person” and was “there for everybody”. She added: “He loved to be close to his friends and family. He helped a lot. He was always smiling. He would come to me for advice. I loved that.”

Axel Acosta, 21, was a computer science student at Western Washington University. According to ABC13, Acosta had just celebrated his 21st birthday last month. Melynda Huskey of Western Washington University said Acosta had a “vibrant future”.

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What has happened since the festival?

Houston police department chief Troy Finner said an investigation involving both the homicide and narcotics division is underway.

Finner also said that there were reports of someone “injecting other individuals with drugs.” He said they do have a report from a security officer that felt a prick in his neck. After falling unconscious the officer was revived with Narcan.

News of lawsuits being brought against Scott and the organisers of Astroworld has been reported over the last number of hours.

Kristian Parades, 23, is suing for $1m for the injuries he says he sustained during the concert, as he accused Scott and Aubrey Drake Graham of negligence.

Patrick Stennis and Manuel Souza have also filed lawsuits against Scott and concert company Live Nation, The Independent reports.

According to Billboard, Souza’s attorney Steve Kherkher wrote: “Defendants failed to properly plan and conduct the concert in a safe manner. Instead, they consciously ignored the extreme risks of harm to concertgoers, and, in some cases actively encouraged and fomented dangerous behaviors."

On social media, some have posted videos of Linkin Park and Foo Fighters showing how they previously managed potentially dangerous situations at their gigs.

How have people responded?

Scott released a statement following the incident saying he is “absolutely devastated” by what happened. He said police have his total support as they look into how the tragedy unfolded.

He also posted an Instagram story saying they have been working with relevant authorities and asked anyone with information to contact local authorities.

He said: “I just want to send out prayers to the ones that were lost last night… My fans mean the world to me and I’ll always just want to leave them with a positive experience and anytime I can make out anything that’s going on, I stop the show and help them get the help they need.”

In a statement, Astroworld said: "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.”

Organisers thanked the emergency services for their support and encouraged anyone with information to get in touch with Houston police.

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner said that a tragedy “of this magnitude” has not happened in the city before.

In a statement, he said he has called for detailed briefings from all stakeholders, including Live Nation, Harris County, NRG Park, Police, Fire, Office of Emergency Management, and other agencies, “explaining how the event got out of control leading to the deaths and injuries of several attendees."

Rapper Roddy Ricch, who played a 30-minute set at the festival on Friday, announced on Instagram that he will donate the money earned during the event to victims’ families.

A number of fundraisers have been set up to cover the funeral expenses of some of the victims. GoFundMe has so far shared the link to three verified fundraisers for Brianna Rodriguez, Rudy Peña and Axel Acosta.

Flowers and candles have been laid outside the festival grounds.

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For more, see the Independent’s live blog.

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