At least eight people died and numerous others were injured in what officials described as a surge of the crowd at the Astroworld music festival in Houston while rapper Travis Scott was performing.
Officials declared a “mass casualty incident” just after 9 p.m. Friday during the festival where an estimated 50,000 people were in attendance, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña 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 thereafter. The fire chief said “scores of individuals” were injured.
Officials transported 17 people to hospitals, including 11 who were in cardiac arrest, Peña said. Many people were also treated at the scene at NRG Park, where a field hospital had been set up. About 300 people were examined at that site throughout the day, he said.
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 canceled.
Drake joined Travis Scott on-stage at the concert — which was live-streamed by Apple Music — and posted photos to Instagram after the performance.
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,” Peña said.
Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite was near the front of the crowd and said it seemed the surge “happened all at once.”
“Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode,” Satterwhite said. “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.”