Eight Dead, Nearly 20 Hospitalized After Mass Casualty Event at Travis Scott’s 2021 Astroworld Festival
UPDATE (Nov. 6):
During a live press conference held on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 6), Houston officials offered updates on the mass casualty event that occurred at the 2021 Astroworld Festival. Houston's mayor, Sylvester Turner, confirmed the eight deceased victims' ages range from 14 to 27. Only six of the deceased victim's families have been notified as of press time. A 10-year-old who was injured in the chaos is reportedly in critical condition.
Mayor Turner also said there were several instances of Narcan—a drug used to stop the effects of opiod overdose—being administered on the scene. They are still waiting on autopsy reports to confirm the causes of death. “We’re not taking anything off the table,” he told the press.
Chief of Police Troy Finner addressed reports that people in the crowd were being injected with drugs. “We do have a report of a security officer, according to the medical staff that was out and treated him last night, that he was reaching over to restrain or grab a citizen and he felt a prick in his neck," Finner revealed. "When he was examined—he went unconscious—they administered Narcan. He was revived and the medical staff did notice a prick that was similar to a prick that you would get if someone’s trying to inject.”
The tragedy is being investigated as a criminal act.
UPDATE (Nov. 6):
Live Nation Entertainment, the company responsible for organizing the Astroworld Festival, has released a statement in regards to the deaths at the event. "Heartbroken for those lost and impacted at Astroworld last night," the statement reads. "We will continue working to provide as much information and assistance as possible to the local authorities as they investigate the situation."
Early Saturday morning (Nov. 6), Fire Chief Samuel Peña, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Police Chief Troy Finner confirmed during a press conference filmed by KHOU 11 News Houston that eight deaths and many more injuries occurred at the Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on Friday night (Nov. 5). Around 9:15 p.m., the crowd started to compress toward the front of the stage, according to Peña. Medics were performing CPR on victims once they started to fall out from the crowd. When police realized there was a mass casualty event happening around 9:30 p.m., police spoke with the promoters and Live Nation, the festival's organizers, to stop the show early, to which Travis Scott complied.
Twenty-three people were transported to area hospitals, with 17 of them hospitalized after the incident. Eleven of those victims were in cardiac arrest during transport. A victim as young as 10 years old was taken to the hospital.
"This is an ongoing investigation," Fire Chief Samuel Peña said. "Chief Finner will provide that information. But we want to give you some preliminary facts of what we know at this moment. We know that we had at least eight confirmed fatalities tonight and we had scores of individuals that were injured at this event. We had attendance of approximately 50,000 to the Travis Scott Astroworld Festival event. What we do know is that at approximately 9 o'clock, 9:15 p.m., the crowd began to compress toward 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."
"I think it's very important that none of us speculate," Houston Police Chief Troy Finner continued. "Nobody has all the answers tonight. I want to thank Live Nation, I want to thank NRG, HFD, our frontline police officers. Nobody has had the opportunity to review any video, and Live Nation has told us that they will allow us to view video. I want to say this because there's a lotta rumors going around. And if you don't have the facts, if you don't have evidence, I'm not gonna speak against that..."
"My job as the Chief of Police is to make sure that we find out what happened," Finner added. "We will treat it as an investigation because we don't know. I have investigators out here on the scene. I'm sending investigators to the hospitals because we just don't know, and we will find out. So, pray for these families. I think that that's very important. Everybody in our city pray for these families and, and we gon' get through it, but we're gonna do an investigation and find out because it's not fair to the producers, to anybody else involved until we determine what happened, what caused the surge. We don't know, but we will find out, and is there anything criminal? We've heard rumors of people injecting some people with drugs, so, I want to check all that out."
A statement from Astroworld Festival regarding the deaths has been released.
"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," the statement reads.
Approximately 50,000 were in attendance at Astroworld. Over 300 people were treated at the on-site field hospital at the event throughout the day. The Houston fire department had 55 units that responded to the mass casualty event in addition to what Astroworld already had on-site.
Finner said 367 police officers and 241 security officers were already assigned to Astroworld before the incident occurred. He confirms the Houston Police Department is treating the deaths and injuries at Astroworld Festival as an investigation.
Astroworld Festival is officially canceled for day two. Live Nation, the festival's organizers, is reportedly working with police to let them view video to help determine what happened.
Families of victims are encouraged to call the numbers provided by the Houston Office of Emergency Management.
"If you have not been able to contact your loved one who attended #ASTROWORLDFest please call 832-393-2991 or 832-393-2990," reads a tweet provided by the Houston OEM.
A command post is located at Wyndham Hotel at 8686 Kirby Dr. in Houston to help identify the victims who died and families who need assistance.
Before the festival began yesterday, a massive crowd of fans were already lined up to get merch prior to the gates opening at 1 p.m.
During the concert itself, Travis Scott went through his catalog of hits from albums past and present plus brought out surprise guest Drake, who performed tracks like "Knife Talk" and "Way 2 Sexy."
XXL has reached out to Travis Scott's team, a rep for Live Nation and Astroworld Festival organizers for comment.