After being cooped up for more than 19 months during a global pandemic, scores of teenagers, college students, and Travis Scott super fans planned to enjoy the Astroworld festival in Houston. A night of fun quickly turned to terror as people pushed forward in the crowd, making it almost impossible to breathe, move, or leave. Crowd surges are unfortunately common at group events like Astroworld, few results in fatalities.
“Officials declared a “mass casualty incident” just after 9 p.m. Friday during the festival where an estimated 50,000 people were in attendance,” said Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña. “The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries. People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.”
At least eight deaths occurred, including an aspiring model and psychology student from Laredo, Texas, Rodolfo Angel Pena, 23. The other victim’s ages were 14, 16, 21, 21, 23, and 27. The age of one fatality is still unknown. Officials said a 10-year-old is also in critical condition.
“Twenty-five people were transported to the hospital,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a news briefing Saturday, and 13 are still hospitalized. A field hospital was set up at NRG Park where about 300 people were treated on-site throughout the day.
At least three lawsuits have been filed with the potential of many more. According to Fox News Texas attorney Thomas J. Henry filed a lawsuit against Travis Scott, whose real name is Jacques Bermon Webster. Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Drake Graham, Live Nation, and NRG Stadium were also named in the suit.
The complaint was filed on behalf of Kristian Paredes, 23, from Austin, Texas, and sought more than $1 million in damages after both rappers allegedly “incited the crowd” and left him injured.
Festival organizers released a statement Saturday morning saying, “Our hearts are with the Astroworld festival family – especially those we lost and their loved ones,” the statement on Twitter read. “We are focused on supporting local officials however we can.”
As this investigation is ongoing please share with Houston Police any relevant information you may have about these incidents.