At least eight people have been confirmed dead and over 300 injured following a mass stampede at Travis Scott‘s Astroworld music festival in Houston, Texas on Friday night (November 5). Following the tragedy that occurred the night before, the festival has been canceled for the remainder of the weekend.
“Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival family tonight – especially those we lost and their loved ones,” a statement from the festival read. “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 a series of cardiac arrests that took place. If you have any relevant information on this, please reach @HoustonPolice. Thank you to our partners at the Houston Police Department, Fire Department, and NRG Park for their response and support.”
Read the festival’s full statement below:
The events that led to a mass stampede have been estimated to have started brewing at around 9:38 p.m. on Friday Night. According to Houston Fire Department Chief Samual Peña, “The crowd began to compress toward the front of the stage and that caused some panic and started causing some injuries. People began to fall out and become unconscious and that created additional panic.”
Following the stampede, 17 patients, including one 10-year-old, had been transported to the hospital, with 11 in cardiac arrest at the time. Peña said that festival staff had been “quickly overwhelmed” by the event, and so the Houston Fire Department dispatched 50 units to the festival location.
Scott had been the one headlining the festival and performing on stage at the time of the incident. The rapper had brought out Drake as a surprise guest during his performance during his set. Videos shared to social media of the event saw concertgoers being pulled out of the festival on stretchers, while others were undergoing CPR. One video saw Scott still performing on stage during the stampede, with festivalgoers trying to get the attention of security guards in order to inform them of the events occurring on the festival grounds.
“I’m sending investigators to the hospital because we just don’t know,” Houston Police Department Chief Troy Finner said, according to The New York Times. “We’re going to do an investigation and find out, because it’s not fair to producers, to anybody else involved, until we determine what happened, what caused the surge.”
“I witnessed someone unconscious, struggling to get him out, like his friends were trying to get him out and just people weren’t caring enough to make a path,” Stephen Gutierrez, an attendee, said to KHOU. “I’m a 400-pound guy. I jumped in because that’s just my instinct, and I just made a path for him.”
“In the front, there was a lot of jumping,” another festivalgoer said to KHOU of the incident. “If you didn’t jump, you would fall and get trampled on, definitely. The crowd is pushing back and forth. If you were even a little tired, you were going to fall.”
Another stampede was reported to have occurred at the festival earlier in the day when hundreds of fans had tried to rush the VIP security checkpoint in order to enter the festival. KPRC 2 reported that some of those trying to rush into the festival had been detained and arrested, however, others managed to weave their way into the crowd. “We do know that we had people jump the fest,” Peña had said.
So far, an exact cause of death has not yet been determined. Peña said that a medical examiner is currently investigating the incident.
“It happened all at once,” the executive assistant chief of the Houston Police, Larry Satterwhite, said during a news conference. Satterwhite stated that several people in the crowd had fallen to the ground and began to experience a medical episode at the time of the event.
“Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode,” Satterwhite went on to say via the Associated Press. “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.”
“Our hearts are broken,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said at the news conference. “People go to these events looking for a good time. It’s not the kind of event where you expect to find out about fatalities.”