Eight dead after crowd surge sparks 'panic' at Houston music festival


Eight people were killed and many more injured on Friday after fans surged toward the stage during a music festival in Houston, sparking a "panic," officials said.

Authorities declared a "mass casualty incident" at the Astroworld music festival, with the deaths and injuries happening during a Travis Scott concert.

Ambulances took 17 people to the hospital, with at least 11 suffering from cardiac arrest, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said during a press conference.

A field hospital was created, with at least 300 getting checked at the festival for injuries.

“The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries,” Peña said. “People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.”

The eight who died have not been identified and it is not clear how exactly they died. 

Scott was seen several times during his performance stopping to tell his security that people needed help in the crowd, video seen by Reuters showed.

"It happened all at once. It seemed like it just happened ... over the course of just a few minutes," Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said. "Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode."

Peña said there were about 50,000 in the crowd, with events for the Astroworld festival on Saturday canceled due to the incident.

Astroworld organizers released a statement Saturday expressing their condolences and saying they are cooperating with local authorities. 

“The city of Houston extends our condolences to the loved ones of 8 people killed & several injured at #ASTROWORLDFest,” the office of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) tweeted.

“Organizers held the event to bring people together for music, but it sadly ended in tragedy,” the tweet added. “Thanks to police, fire & other agencies that responded to assist."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said he has made state resources available to help with the investigation. 

"What happened at Astroworld Festival last night was tragic, and our hearts are with those who lost their lives and those who were injured in the terrifying crowd surge," Abbott said. "I ask Texans to join Cecilia and me in lifting up in prayer those affected by this tragedy.”

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