The surge began around 9:15 pm, according to Houston station ABC13, when Drake made a surprise appearance during Travis Scott’s headlining performance. “The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries,” Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said during a press conference on Saturday morning. “People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.” Peña noted that the on-site medical units were “quickly overwhelmed” and that “scores of people” were treated for injuries. He said officials transported at least 17 people to hospitals, including 11 people who were in cardiac arrest. A 10-year-old was reportedly among those hospitalized.
“Once we started having the mass casualty incident, they were starting CPR on several people, and it happened all at once,” HPD Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite told the AP. “It seemed like it happened over the course of just a few minutes. Suddenly, we had several people down on the ground experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode. 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.”
Astroworld was sold out, with an estimated crowd of 50,000 people. The second and final night of the Houston, TX festival, which was livestreamed at Apple Music, has been cancelled. “Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival Family tonight—especially those we lost and their loved ones,” the festival wrote in a statement. “Thank you to our partners at the Houston Police Department, Fire Department, and NRG Park for their response and support.”
UPDATE: Travis Scott has issued a statement saying he is “devastated” over the events that unfolded at his Astroworld Festival. “My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival. Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life. I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need. Thank you to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their immediate response and support. Love You All.”
In a video message on Instagram, Scott said he was “working right now to identify the families so we can help assist them through this tough time.” He continued: “My fans really mean the world to me. I always just really want to leave them with a positive experience. Anytime I can make out what’s going on, I stop the show and help them get the help they need. I could just never imagine the severity of the situation.”
— ASTROWORLD FEST (@astroworldfest) November 6, 2021