The Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas, was the site of what reports have dubbed a “mass casualty incident” on Friday night. A crowd surge during Travis Scott’s performance led to at least eight deaths and more injuries, the Associated Press reported. Those who died were between 14 and 27 years old, city officials said, according to the New York Times.
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said that a surge toward the stage caused concertgoers to become alarmed. “People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic,” he told the AP. Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said that an agreement was reached to end the show early and cancel the second day of the festival.
Twenty-three people were taken to nearby hospitals, 11 of whom were in cardiac arrest, according to the New York Times. Over 300 people were treated at a field hospital at NRG Park, though the AP noted that was “throughout the day,” meaning not all were a result of the evening-ending surge.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner “urged people not to jump to conclusions about what caused the surge,” according to the AP, which also reported that the causes of death were not yet determined.
Early Saturday morning, the festival made a statement via social media, saying their hearts were with “those we lost and their loved ones,” and thanking the Houston police and fire departments. They also asked anyone with “relevant information” about “the series of cardiac arrests” to reach out.
As of Saturday, social media was a mess of unverified reports about the scene. One video that does appear to be from the concert shows a man trying to approach the forward pit in the hopes of helping people and climbing onto what seems to be the soundboard operator or a cameraperson’s platform.
On social media, some recalled an incident in 2015 when Scott was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after his set at Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival. Police said he had encouraged fans to climb over security barriers and taunted security guards.