'There's Somebody Dead': Harrowing Accounts of Tragedy at Astroworld

Travis Scott continued playing for 37 minutes after 'mass casualty incident' declared
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2021 5:59 AM CST
Travis Scott Performed for 37 Minutes After 'Mass Casualty' Declared
A pedestrian cross Main Street in front of a sign announcing the cancellation of Astroworld on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Houston.   (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

At 9:38pm Friday, a mass casualty incident was declared at a packed Travis Scott concert during the Astroworld Festival in Houston. Police and firefighters responded to the scene after multiple people were trampled and crushed, eight of them fatally, during a crowd surge. But Scott appeared to play his entire set, the Houston Chronicle reports, not leaving the stage until 10:15pm after performing all of his planned songs. Concert promoter Live Nation had agreed to cut the show short at 9:38—30 minutes or more after the crush started, according to witness accounts—but Houston's police chief told reporters they had to be careful, with the large size of the crowd, not to incite a riot by ending the show early, Fox News reports. Meanwhile, harrowing accounts of concert attendees, including some who tried in vain to bring attention to what was happening, have started being posted to social media. The latest:

  • "There's somebody dead": Multiple videos (see one here, but be warned that it's difficult to watch) show a woman climbing a platform to beg camera operators to stop the show because people were dying in the crowd below. She has described her experience on Instagram (read her full account here), and claims the camera operators not only refused to help, one threatened to throw her from the 15-foot-high platform if she didn't get down.

  • Ambulance in the crowd: Scott did pause the show after spotting an ambulance that had made its way into the audience (CNN has video here). But, as Reuters reports, he started back up moments later. He paused it again less than 15 minutes later to ask for security to help someone he thought was "passed out," then restarted again, calling for the crowd to make the "earth quake."
  • Disturbing video: Video footage making the rounds on Twitter shows Scott continuing to sing as the crowd chants, "Stop the show." In another clip, which is very difficult to watch, he sings as an non-responsive person is pulled from the ground and carried away—see the footage here, but it is disturbing.
  • "No idea": A source who spoke to Page Six, however, says those clips are misleading and that Scott "had no idea what was going on, he was on stage performing." Once he realized, the source says, he stopped the show, and has been "beside himself" since hearing about the deaths and injuries. In a statement, Scott says he's "absolutely devastated."
  • Injections: Police say some people at the concert may have been intentionally injected with something; a security guard reported being jabbed with a syringe, Fox News reports. Authorities are investigating.
  • Victims: The eight people killed ranged in age from 14 to 27, along with one victim whose identity and age have not yet been confirmed. Authorities are asking for help identifying him; ABC 13 has a photo, which may be disturbing to view. More than two dozen people were hospitalized, some in critical condition, including a 10-year-old boy. More than 300 people were treated at a field hospital on-site, and some people are missing. The Daily Beast has more on the victims.
  • Ambulances in the crowd, 2: The Daily Beast reports some fans were blocking emergency vehicles and even dancing atop them.
  • What is a crowd surge? CNN explains how tragedies like this happen here, with help from multiple experts.
  • For more: The Chronicle takes an extensive look at how the plug would typically be pulled on a show in a situation like this, as well as earlier red flags at Astroworld and a detailed timeline of the tragedy.
(More Travis Scott stories.)

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