At least 8 dead at Astroworld music festival in Houston

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Officials in Texas say at least eight people are dead and several others injured in a crowd surge at the Astroworld Festival.

A compression of the crowd toward the stage occurred just after 9 p.m. CT Friday while rapper Travis Scott was performing, Houston fire Chief Samuel Pena told reporters at a news conference.

“The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries,” the fire chief said. “People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.”

The show was called off shortly after several people began suffering injuries.

17 taken to hospital

Officials transported 17 people to the hospital, including 11 who were in cardiac arrest, Pena said. Many people were also treated at the scene at NRG Park, where a field hospital had been set up.

The fire chief added that officials did not immediately know the causes of death for the eight people who died. A medical examiner would investigate. The deceased had not been identified as of early Saturday.

Approximately 50,000 people were in attendance at the festival, Pena said.

It was not yet clear what caused the disaster.

“I think it’s very important that none of us speculate. Nobody has all the answers tonight,” Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said. “If you don’t have facts, if you don’t have evidence, I’m not going to speak against that. We have hurting families out here.”

Event promoters had arranged for medical units to be on scene at the festival, however once the crowd surge began, those units were “quickly overwhelmed,” Pena said.

Live Nation, the event organizer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Scott noticed fans in distress

The Houston Chronicle said Scott stopped multiple times during his 75-minute performance when he spotted fans in distress near the front of the stage.

He asked security to make sure they were OK and help them out of the crowd. Emergency vehicles, lights and alarms flashing, cut through the crowds several times.

Houston’s fire chief said the crowd that had gathered for a performance by rapper Travis Scott began to push toward the front of the stage at around 9 p.m., causing panic. (Amy Harris/Invision/Associated Press)

The fire department said on Twitter that a reunification centre had been set up for families who had not heard from loved ones at the festival.

The Houston Chronicle quoted Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo as calling it an “extremely tragic night.”

Astroworld is a two-day music festival that was scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday in Houston. The event was sold out, according to the Astroworld website. Saturday’s performances have been cancelled.





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