The deceased included two children, aged 14 and 16, respectively. Among the other victims were two 21 year olds, two 23 year olds, and a 27 year old. The age of the eighth victim has not been determined.
According to Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, 25 people were transported by ambulance to local hospitals. As of Saturday afternoon, 13 people are still hospitalized, including five who are under the age of 18. Over 300 people were treated at a “field hospital” set up at the festival.
“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 reporters. “People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.”
“Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode,” Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite explained. “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.”
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said an investigation has been launched to determine what caused the surge. “I’m sending investigators to the hospitals because we just don’t know,” Chief Finner told reports. “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.”
During a press conference on Saturday, Chief Finner did confirm a report that an unknown individual may have injected other people with drugs. “We do have a report of a security officer… who was reaching over to restrain a citizen and he felt a prick in his neck,” Chief Finner said. “He went unconscious and they administered Narcan and he was revived. The medical staff did notice a prick that was similar to if somebody was trying to inject.” Chief Finner also said Narcan was administered to other individuals over the course of the evening. Update – November 10th: During a press conference on Wednesday, Chief Finner said the security guard has changed his story and no longer claims he was injected with drugs.
The surge occurred around 9:30 p.m. local time during Scott’s headlining set. At the time, Drake had joined Scott on-stage for a surprise performance.
After being alerted to the medical situation on the ground, Scott and the festival’s promoter, Live Nation, agreed to cancel the remainder of the set. The second and final day of Astroworld, set to take place on Saturday, has also been canceled.
“We are focused on supporting local officials however we can,” Astroworld organizers said in a statement. “Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival Family tonight—especially those we lost and their loved ones.”
Scott struck a similar tone in a statement released Saturday morning. “I’m absolutely devastated by what took pace last night. My prayers go out to the families and all of those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival,” he said. “Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life. I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need.”
In a follow-up video message posted to Instagram on Saturday evening, Scott said, “My fans really mean the world to me. I always want to leave them with a positive experience. Anytime I can make out anything that is going on, I stop the show and help them get the help they need. I just never could imagine this severe of a situation. We’re working closely with everyone to get to the bottom of this.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Mayor Turner said that the city “had more security over there than we had at the World series games.” Specifically, the Houston Police Department provided 528 officers to compliment 755 private security personnel.
Earlier in the day on Friday, videos posted to social media showed numerous people unlawfully crashing the festival’s gates in order to gain entry. According to Mycah Hatfield of ABC 13 in Houston, one stampede at the VIP entrance resulted in multiple people being trampled, and several individuals were arrested.
Scott has previously run into issues for inciting such behavior. In 2015, he was arrested during his set at Lollapalooza in Chicago after encouraging the crowd to climb over the security barrier. He was charged with disorderly conduct and eventually plead guilty. In 2017, Scott was sued by a man who was seriously injured after the rapper told people at his concert at New York City’s Terminal 5 to jump from the venue’s balcony.
Friday’s tragedy at Astroworld is also reminiscent of the stampede that left nine people dead and 26 injured during Pearl Jam’s 1992 concert at Roskilde Festival in Denmark. In light of that incident, festivals across Europe permanently banned crowd surfing.
This is a developing story…
.@trvisXX issues another statement on #ASTROWORLDFest tragedy: “My fans really mean the world to me…we’ve been working closely with everyone to just get to the bottom of this.” pic.twitter.com/nsWUwoV9HlAdvertisement
— Eric Diep (@E_Diep) November 7, 2021
— TRAVIS SCOTT (@trvisXX) November 6, 2021
As we were arriving to the Astroworld Festival at NRG Park right at 2:00, a stampede burst through the gates. Hundreds of people destroyed the VIP security entrance, bypassing the checkpoint. People were trampled. Some were detained.
(Excuse any language you may hear) pic.twitter.com/d0m2rjqAAk
— Mycah Hatfield (@MycahABC13) November 5, 2021
It wasn't a pretty sight as the gates began to open at NRG Stadium for the first day of the Astroworld festival. Video captured festival-goers getting trampled as a huge crowd pushed their way through the entrance gates.
— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) November 5, 2021