Update: This file has been updated to add information about the victims.
At least eight people died and numerous others were injured in what officials described as a surge of the crowd at the Astroworld music festival in Houston while rapper Travis Scott was performing. Officials declared a "mass casualty incident" just after 9pm Friday during the festival, where an estimated 50,000 people were in attendance, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena told reporters at a news conference. "The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries," the fire chief said, per the AP. "People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic."
The show was called off shortly thereafter. The fire chief said "scores of individuals" were injured. The people killed included two teenagers, 14 and 16 years old, and three people in their 20s, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Saturday afternoon. At least 25 people were taken to hospitals; 11 of them were in cardiac arrest, Pena said. The mayor said 13 were still hospitalized Saturday afternoon, per CNN. Many people were also treated at the scene at NRG Park, where a field hospital had been set up. Event promoters had arranged for medical units to be on scene at the festival; however, once the crowd surge began, those units were "quickly overwhelmed," Pena said. Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite was near the front of the crowd and said it seemed the surge "happened all at once."
"Suddenly we had several people down on the ground, experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or some type of medical episode," Satterwhite said. "And so we immediately started doing CPR, and moving people right then, and that's when I went and met with the promoter and Live Nation and they agreed to end early in the interest of public safety." Pena said officials didn't immediately know the causes of death for the eight people who died. A medical examiner will investigate. The deceased were not immediately identified. No one was reported missing, the mayor said.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner told reporters that Scott and the event promoters cooperated with police. The deadly surge was the most deaths at a US concert since the 2003 Station nightclub fire that killed 100 people in Rhode Island. Eleven people died and about two dozen were injured in 1979 at a concert for The Who as thousands of fans tried to get into Cincinnati's riverfront coliseum. Astroworld is a two-day music festival that was scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday in Houston. The event was sold out, according to the Astroworld website. Saturday's performances have been canceled.
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