Mass wave kills 8, injures countless others at Houston music festival

The crowd at a Houston music festival suddenly rushed to the stage during a performance by rapper Travis Scott, pushing fans so tightly together they couldn’t breathe or move their arms, witnesses said Saturday, hours after at least eight people were killed. died in the chaos. The pandemonium unfolded Friday night at Astroworld, a sold-out, two-day event in NRG Park. An estimated 50,000 people attended. Niaara Goods, 28, said the crowd increased when a timer clicked to the start of the performance. confused. Suddenly your ribs are crushed. You have someone’s arm around your neck. You’re trying to breathe, but you can’t,” Goods said. Goods said she was so desperate to get out that she bit a man on the shoulder to get him to move. The dead ranged in age from 14 to 27 years. and 13 people were still hospitalized, Mayor Sylvester Turner said. He called the disaster “a tragedy on many different levels” and said it was too early to draw conclusions about what went wrong. Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said the crowd’s movement to the stage caused panic and some injuries. Then “people started falling apart, passed out and it caused additional panic.” Experts who have studied deaths from crowds say they are often the result of density — too many people crammed into a small space. The crowd often runs away from a perceived threat or toward something they want, such as an artist, before hitting a barrier.G. Keith Still, a visiting professor of crowd science at the University of Suffolk in the United Kingdom, has testified as an expert witness in court cases involving crowds. He said he usually doesn’t look at eyewitness accounts in the early stages of analyzing an incident because emotions can cloud the picture and witnesses can only see what’s right around them. The deaths were reminiscent of a 1979 concert by The Who, where 11 people died when thousands of fans tried to enter Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum. Other past catastrophes include the deaths of 97 people at a crowded Hillsborough Stadium in 1989 in Sheffield, England, and numerous disasters related to the annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia. As Scott took the stage, it seemed as if the audience rushed forward in an attempt to get closer to the stage, said Nick Johnson, a high school student from the Houston suburb of Friendswood, who was at the concert with friends. “Everyone passed out around you and everyone tried to help each other. But you just couldn’t move. You couldn’t do anything. You can’t even lift your arms,” ​​Johnson said. “It just got worse and worse.” Johnson said fans started crushing each other and people started screaming. He said it felt like 100 degrees in the crowd. Scott seemed aware that something was going on in the crowd, but he “Maybe he hadn’t understood the gravity of the situation, Johnson said. A video posted to social media showed Scott the concert stopped at one point and asked for help for someone in the audience: “Security, someone is helping very quickly.” In a tweet posted Saturday, Scott said he was “absolutely devastated by what happened last night”. promised “to work with the community of Houston to heal and support the families in need. There were several people on the ground who were experiencing some sort of cardiac arrest or some sort of medical episode,” Satterwhite said. “And so we immediately started CPR and moving people.” in the interest of public safety.’ Amy Harris, a freelance photographer for The Associated Press, described an “aggressive” crowd during the day because of the way fans behaved, rushing the stage barricades and restricted VIP and entry areas. “It was definitely the most chaotic festival environment I’ve been in,” said Harris. “I felt uncomfortable all day.” s rushed through the area. They ended up behind the security barricade with her. Before the main act, she encountered a similar scene on another stage. She left the media pit after three songs due to the disarray, which dragged people over the security barricade to get medical attention. At one point, Gerardo Abad-Garcia was pressed so tightly into the crowd that he couldn’t move his arms from his chest. During Toliver’s performance, prior to Scott’s appearance, he began to worry about his safety. “I just couldn’t breathe. I was compressed,” he said. A guard helped him and others climb over a fence and get out. He described the crowd during Scott’s set as a wave that “went back and forth”. Some people lost their shoes and the ground. was littered with clothing and trash. said some people tried to help those who passed out on the floor, while other concert-goers seemed to ignore them and continued to watch the show. After Scott’s concert, Abad-Garcia saw medical personnel perform CPR on someone who was unconscious. It appeared as if the person was taken away on a golf cart. Authorities did not disclose the causes of death and the dead were not immediately identified. Scott, one of music’s biggest young stars, founded the Astroworld Festival in 2018. The 29-year-old Houston resident has a 3-year-old daughter with Kylie Jenner, who announced she was pregnant with their second child in September. Drake accompanied Scott on the pod ium during the concert, which was streamed live by Apple Music.___Associated Press writers Ryan Pearson in Los Angeles, Stan Choe in New York, David Sharp in Portland, Maine and Desiree Seals in Atlanta contributed to this report.

The crowd at a music festival in Houston suddenly burst onto the stage during a performance by rapper Travis Scott, pushing fans so tightly together they couldn’t breathe or move their arms, witnesses said Saturday, hours after at least eight people were killed. died in the chaos.

The pandemonium unfolded Friday night at Astroworld, a sold-out, two-day event in NRG Park. An estimated 50,000 people attended.

Niaara Goods, 28, said the crowd increased when a timer clicked to the start of the performance.

“As soon as he jumped off the stage, it was like an energy took over and everything went haywire. Suddenly your ribs are crushed. You have someone’s arm around your neck. You try to breathe, but you can’t,” Goods said.

Goods said she was so desperate to get out that she bit a man on the shoulder to get him to move.

The ages of the dead ranged from 14 to 27, and 13 people were still hospitalized, Mayor Sylvester Turner said. He called the disaster “a tragedy on many different levels” and said it was too early to draw conclusions about what went wrong.

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said the crowd’s movement to the stage caused panic and some injuries. Then “people started to lunge, passed out and caused additional panic.”

Experts who have studied deaths from crowds say they are often the result of density — too many people crammed into a small space. The crowd often runs away from a perceived threat or toward something they want, such as an artist, before hitting a barrier.

G. Keith Still, visiting professor of crowd science at the University of Suffolk in the United Kingdom, has testified as an expert witness in court cases involving crowds. He said he usually doesn’t look at eyewitness accounts in the early stages of analyzing an incident because emotions can cloud the picture and witnesses can only see what’s directly around them.

The deaths were reminiscent of a 1979 The Who concert that killed 11 people when thousands of fans tried to break into Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum. Other past catastrophes include the deaths of 97 people at a crowded Hillsborough Stadium in 1989 in Sheffield, England, and numerous disasters related to the annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

People in the Houston crowd reported a lot of pushing and pulling during the performances prior to Scott’s set.

When Scott took the stage, it seemed like the audience rushed forward in an attempt to get closer to the stage, said Nick Johnson, a high school student from the Houston suburb of Friendswood, who was at the concert with friends.

“Everyone passed out around you and everyone tried to help each other. But you just couldn’t move. You couldn’t do anything. You can’t even lift your arms,” ​​Johnson said. “It just got worse and worse.”

Johnson said fans started crushing each other and people started screaming. He said it felt like 100 degrees in the crowd.

Scott seemed aware that something was going on in the crowd, but he may not have understood the gravity of the situation, Johnson said.

Video on social media showed Scott stopping the concert at one point and asking for help for someone in the audience: “Safety, someone is helping very quickly.”

In a tweet posted Saturday, Scott said he was “absolutely devastated by what happened last night”.

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

“All of a sudden we had several people on the ground, who had some sort of cardiac arrest or some sort of medical episode,” Satterwhite said. “And so we immediately started CPR and moving people.”

Satterwhite said the promoters quickly agreed to end the event “in the interest of public safety.”

Amy Harris, a freelance photographer for The Associated Press, described an “aggressive” crowd during the day because of the way fans behaved and rushed the stage barricades and restricted VIP and entry areas.

“It was definitely the most chaotic festival environment I’ve ever been to,” said Harris. “I felt uncomfortable all day.”

She got stuck behind a barricade while shooting artist Don Toliver as about 300 fans rushed the area. They ended up behind the security barricade with her.

She encountered a similar scene on another stage before the headlining act. She left the media pit after three songs due to the disarray, which dragged people over the security barricade to get medical attention.

At one point, Gerardo Abad-Garcia was pressed into the crowd so tightly that he couldn’t move his arms off his chest. During Toliver’s performance, which took place before Scott’s appearance, he began to worry about his safety.

“I just couldn’t breathe. I was being compressed,” he said. A guard helped him and others climb over a fence and get out.

He described the audience during Scott’s set as a wave that “went back and forth”.

Some people lost their shoes and the ground was littered with clothes and garbage. He said some people tried to help those who passed out on the floor, while other concertgoers seemed to ignore them and continue to watch the show.

After Scott’s concert, Abad-Garcia watched medical personnel perform CPR on someone who appeared to be unconscious as the person was taken away on a golf cart.

Authorities did not disclose the causes of death and the dead were not immediately identified.

Scott, one of music’s biggest young stars, founded the Astroworld Festival in 2018. 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 is pregnant with their second child.

Drake joined Scott onstage during the concert, which was live streamed by Apple Music.

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Associated Press writers Ryan Pearson in Los Angeles, Stan Choe in New York, David Sharp in Portland, Maine, and Desiree Seals in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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