At least eight people are dead and several others were injured Friday night at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival at NRG Park, authorities said.
At about 9:15 p.m. Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena said the crowd, which numbered an estimated 50,000, compressed toward the front of the stage. People began to panic and several fell unconscious. Authorities on site began transporting victims at around 9:38 p.m.
An officer who witnessed the incident said it seemed to happen “all at once.”
“It seemed like it happened over the course of just a few minutes,” he said. “Suddenly we had several people down on the ground experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or medical episode and so we immediately started doing CPR and moving people.”
Event organizers ended the concert early and canceled Day 2 of the festival.
Pena said the medical personnel stationed at the event were quickly overwhelmed. Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the scene to assist.
Paramedics transported at least 25 people to the hospital, one as young as 10 years old. Eleven of those transported were in cardiac arrest, Pena said. Over 300 people were tended to on-site throughout the day. As of Monday, three people remain hospitalized. A 10-year-old transported from the scene remains hospitalized in critical condition as of Monday evening, authorities said.
Those killed in the crowd surge ranged in age from 14 to 27 (one age 14, one age 16, two age 21, two age 23, one age 27 and another of undetermined age). Some of the victims were trampled, Finner said.
“Our hearts are broken,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said. “People go to these events looking for a good time, a chance to unwind, to make memories. It’s not the kind of event you go to where you expect to find out about fatalities . . .Obviously, this is the last place we want to be -- especially after we’ve been through so much as a community,” Hidalgo said. “But we have incredibly capable law enforcement officials here.”
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said 528 police officers and 755 security officers were stationed at the event Friday. Finner previously stated 367 police officers and 241 security officers were stationed at the event.
Pena said he believes there was a “robust” plan in place for the event. He also added that outdoor events such as the festival require no occupancy permit. The venue could have held over 200,000 people safely per the fire code assembly occupancy formula, Pena said. Occupancy was limited to 50,000 Friday night.
“I cannot say enough about the incredible work the Houston Fire Department, the Houston Police Department, law enforcement, Live Nation that was out here trying to secure what was really a chaotic event,” Pena said. “That’s what we know right now.”
Pena and Finner said many questions remain and an investigation into the mass fatality event is ongoing.
“There are a lot of narratives out there right now, on social media and even last night,” Finner said.
One such narrative circulating is of an individual injecting others with drugs. Finner said a security officer reported that he felt a prick in his neck while he was responding to the crowd surge. When he was examined, he fell unconscious. Paramedics reportedly administered Narcan, which revived the security officer, Finner said. Medical stiff did observe what appeared to be a needle prick on the man’s neck.
Finner urges anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity at the festival to report it to the police.
Earlier on Friday, multiple people were hurt when festival attendees rushed the front gates, knocking over metal detectors and one another in an effort to get onto festival grounds.
Altogether, police arrested 25 people at the concert Friday night: 23 for criminal trespassing, 1 for possession of marijuana and another for public intoxication.
HPD announced on Monday that the reunification center located at the Wyndham Hotel on Kirby Drive is closed. Concertgoers who need additional information on a loved one can call 3-1-1 or 713-837-0311.
Those who need counseling can also call a trained crisis counselor at 713-970-7000 or 1-800-985-5990.
Watch the full Saturday afternoon news conference below.
Watch the full Saturday morning news conference below.
Police Chief Troy Finner, Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo media briefing on mass casualty incident at NRG Park.Posted by Houston Police Department on Saturday, November 6, 2021
Astroworld Festival officials have posted a statement on their Instagram account:
“Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival family tonight – especially those we lost and their loved ones. 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 the series of cardiac arrests that took place. If you have any relevant information on this, please reach out to @HoustonPolice. Thank you to our partners at the Houston Police Department, Fire Department, and NRG Park for their response and support.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.