tragedy in houston

8 dead and hundreds injured after massive surge at Texas festival

8 dead and hundreds injured after massive surge at Texas festival

Astroworld Festival 2019
Eight died and hundreds more were injured at Astroworld Festival Friday, November 5, officials say.  Photo courtesy of Astroworld Festival

Eight people are confirmed dead and some hundreds more injured after a massive stampede Friday, November 5 at a Houston event.

Harris County has released the names and ages of the deceased:

Mirza Baig, 27, of Houston
Rodolfo Peña, 23, of Laredo, Texas
Madison Dubiski, 23, of Cypress, Texas
Franco Patiño, 21, of Illinois
Jacob Jurinke, 20, of Illinois
John Hilgert, 14, of Houston
Axel Acosta Avila, 21, of Washington
Brianna Rodriguez, 16, of Houston

The deaths and injuries, which occurred during Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival at NRG Park in Houston, were confirmed by Houston fire chief Samuel Peña, who told CultureMap news partner ABC13 that the worst of the incident occurred around 9:15 pm, when the crowd of at least 50,000 surged toward the stage. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner added that incident ended at 10:10 pm.

Scott was joined onstage by rapper Drake in a surprise appearance, which officials say sparked the push.

“The crowd began to compress toward the front of the stage, and people began to panic,” Peña told ABC13.

ABC13 camera crews captured dramatic scenes of festivalgoers pushing past security early in the festival hours.

Festival organizers Scott and LiveNation stopped the show when it was apparent that multiple people were hurt, according to Houston Police chief Troy Finner. The rest of the festival weekend was canceled.

In a social media post, Scott said he is “absolutely devastated” by the events.

Peña told ABC13 more than 300 patients had been treated at a field hospital since the event began, including people who were hurt during the worst moments. Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo noted one of the victims was 10 years old.

Meanwhile, according to HFD and ABC13, Houston Fire Department and Harris County medics transported 23 people to hospitals and 17 of those patients were taken away during the worst of the ordeal. CPR had to be performed on 11 of the victims, said Peña.

On Saturday, November 6, Mayor Turner briefed the media with the latest information on the mass-casualty incident. Six families of the deceased have been notified, per Turner.

As for the surviving victims, 25 were transported to the hospital, with 13 still hospitalized. Five are under the age of 18. Four have been discharged.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” said Turner, who also advised that the public not take seriously the myriad rumors currently circulating on social media.

On Monday, November 8, news site Patch reported an Austin man, Kristian Paredes, has filed a lawsuit against Scott, Drake, as well as LiveNation and NRG Park, seeking more than $1 million after suffering what he claims are “severe bodily injuries.” It’s one of several lawsuits filed since the event. 

Astroworld Festival organizers offered this statement to media in light of the events and cancellation:

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 Houston Police.

Thank you to our partners at the Houston Police Department, Fire Department, and NRG Park for their response and support.

Wildly anticipated after a pandemic break, Scott’s Astroworld Festival was to boast Scott as the headlining performer, plus a wide array of rappers, including Young Thug, Bad Bunny, Lil Baby, BIA, 21 Savage, Chief Keef, Roddy Ricci, Don Toliver, and New Orleans rap legend Master P.

Diverse acts such as SZA and Earth, Wind & Fire; Tame Impala; and Toro y Moi were also on the bill.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called for an investigation in light of the eight deaths and hundreds of injuries caused by the festival stampede. He issued the following statement early Saturday, November 6:

What happened at Astroworld Festival was a tragedy. An estimated 50,000 people attended the event Friday night, expecting to enjoy a music concert with friends and return home safely. I extend my condolences to the families of the eight people who died and the approximately 17 people who were injured at the event. Many of them suffered cardiac arrest.

Immediately following the tragedy, the city began to assist with resources and necessary support. A reunification center is setup at 8686 Kirby Dr. for families to reconnect with loved ones who [attended] the event. Families searching for loved ones may also call 3-1-1.

This was a major event that happened in the city and on Harris County property. Today, law enforcement will speak with concert promoters and witnesses and review videos available from the event and inside the festival venue.

Also on Saturday, November 6, a festival reunification center was set up at the Wyndham Houston hotel for family members to connect with loved ones. Personnel from Houston Police, the Houston Fire Department, and counselors are on hand.

Those searching for loved ones can also call 713-837-0311 or 832-393-2991 or 832-393-2990.