Eight people are confirmed dead and “scores of individuals” are injured after a crowd surge at the Astroworld music festival in Houston, officials said.
The “mass casualty incident” occurred after 9 p.m. Friday night when a crowd began to “compress” toward the front of the stage, “and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries,” Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said early Saturday at a press conference.
“People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic,” he said.
Seventeen people were taken to the hospital, including 11 in cardiac arrest. Peña said authorities won’t know the cause of the eight deaths until the medical examiner has completed his investigation.
About 50,000 people attended the music event on Friday, the first night of a two-day festival. The surge happened while rapper Travis Scott was on-stage.
“At some point, the show was stopped, when the crowd was surging,” said Peña.
The event ended early, and the second day of the festival has been canceled.
“Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode,” said Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite. “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.”
The Astroworld Festival said in a statement early Saturday, “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.”
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said it’s unclear what caused the surge. Authorities will conduct an investigation.
“Our hearts are broken,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, adding “this is the last place we want to be.”
Scott, 29, has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards. He is a Houston native and has a daughter with Kylie Jenner. He founded the Astroworld Festival three years ago.
Contributing: The Associated Press