/Astroworld Festival – latest: 14-year-old among dead as Travis Scott devastated by tragic loss at concert – The Independent

Astroworld Festival – latest: 14-year-old among dead as Travis Scott devastated by tragic loss at concert – The Independent


At least 8 dead, several others injured during Astroworld music festival, officials say

At least eight people have been killed and hundreds others injured after a huge crowd surge at the opening night of the Astroworld music festival in Houston, Texas.

A sold-out headline show by rapper and festival organiser Travis Scott on Friday night turned deadly when guests began pushing towards the front of the stage, crushing some and reportedly leaving them unable to breathe.

The show was called off and 17 people were transported to the hospital, including 11 who were in cardiac arrest, according to Houston fire chief Samuel Pena.

Over 300 people were also treated at the scene at NRG Park, where a field hospital had been set up. The crush began just before 9pm local time, with some 50,000 people in attendance.

On Saturday morning the mayor of Houston vowed to “leave [no] stone unturned” as his government investigates the accident, while Mr Scott said he was “absolutely devastated” in a message of love to his fans.

Livestreamed footage of the event showed the rapper pausing his performance as an ambulance arrived at the venue, NRG Park.

Follow latest updates below:

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Houston mayor says Astroworld event had ‘more security’ than World Series

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner said that as the event took place on county property and that security was organised by the city of Houston.

He told The New York Times that the city’s police department had provided hundreds of officers, in addition to “240 or 250 non-police security that were there.”

“We had more security over there than we had at the World Series games,” Mr Turner told the newspaper.

The city’s Houston Astros lost to the Atlanta Braves in the MLB finals.

(Getty Images)

Graeme Massie6 November 2021 21:33

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‘Perhaps the plans were inadequate’

Fire Chief Peña explained that the exits were not blocked and that no audience members had trouble escaping. Instead, the deaths occurred within the crowd.

In her remarks, Judge Hidalgo acknowledged a previous incident in which Live Nation, the organiser of the concert, had suffered a crowd stampede.

“It may well be that this tragedy is a result of unpredictable events of circumstances coming together that couldn’t possibly have been avoided. But until we determine that, I will ask the tough questions, and that’s what I’ve spent the morning doing,” she said.

“What I know so far is that Live Nation and Astroworld put together plans for this event: a security plan, a site plan; that they were at the table with City of Houston and Harris County…

“Perhaps the plans were inadequate. Perhaps the plans were good but they weren’t followed. Perhaps it was something else entirely.

“The families of those who died, and everybody affected, deserve answers as to what took place last night, and that’s why I’m calling for an objective, independent investigation as to what went on and how it could have been prevented.”

She said that some details of the victims’ deaths could not be released because investigators have not yet been able to identify and inform two of the victims’ families.

Io Dodds6 November 2021 21:04

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‘Several’ doses of opioid antidote were administered

Fire chief Samuel Peña has said “several – many” Narcan doses were administered last night, suggesting multiple people may have been drugged.

Chief Finner declined to answer a question about whether anyone else apart from the security officer had reported being pricked by a possible needle.

“We’re not taking anything off the table,” said Mayor Turner, interjecting as reporters shouted questions. “Everything will be considered, everything will be taken into account.”

Io Dodds6 November 2021 20:57

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Security guard may have been injected with drugs

Chief of police Troy Finner has made a shocking suggestion: that a security officer at the concert may have been injected with drugs by an unknown person at the time of the surge.

He said: “One of the narratives [going around] was that some individual was injecting other people with drugs. We do have a report of a security officer, according to the medical staff that treated him last night, that he was reaching over to restrain or grab a citizen and he felt a prick in his neck.”

He said the officer was revived with Narcan, a nasal spray used to treat suspected opioid overdoses, and that medical staff “did notice a prick that was similar to what you would get if somebody was trying to inject”.

Chief Finner said that this is now a criminal investigation that will involve Houston’s homicide and narcotics divisions.

Io Dodds6 November 2021 20:51

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Event did not stop ‘for 40 minutes’ after crush began

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner said that it took 40 minutes to stop the event after the crowd surge first began.

The first report of trouble, he said, was around 9:30pm local time, and the concert did not stop until 10:10pm.

If true, that raises questions about how well Live Nation and its private security and medical contractors responded to the incident.

By contrast, fire chief Chief Samuel Peña said that after a “mass casualty event” was declared, it took two minutes for the first of his units to be on the scene.

Io Dodds6 November 2021 20:45

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County judge on verge of tears as she addresses reporters

County Judge Lina Hidalgo is speaking now, visibly close to tears as she described the horror of the accident.

“The events of last night were tragic; beyond belief,” she said. “This is an artist that we know has a following amongst young people, in particular young people with bright futures. Those are the people that were at the event.

“They went to have a good time, and no one – no parent, no friend, no sibling should see their loved one off to a concert by a world-renowned artists and not be able to expect them to come home safely.

“When we read the ages [of the victims]… it just breaks your heart, and I know that the images we’ve seen are hard to stomach, and I imagine more will surface that are hard to stomach.

“Since late last night I’ve been on the scene. I spent time at the reunification centre talking to families, hearing their anguish, those that didn’t know where their loved ones were. Sometimes it’s harder not to know.”

Io Dodds6 November 2021 20:36

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One of the dead was just 14 years old

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner is now giving a press conference. He says one of the people who died was a teenager of just 14 years old.

Of the other seven people who perished, Mr Turner said one was 16 years old, two were 21, one was 23, one was 27, and one’s age remains unknown.

He said 25 were taken to hospital, of which five were under the age of 18, and 13 are still recovering there. Nobody has been reported missing.

Io Dodds6 November 2021 20:29

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Child as young a ten was injured in surge

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner said the dead ranged from age 16 to age 23, telling CNN: “This is a young crowd.”

He also confirmed that one of the injured people was a child, perhaps as young as ten years old.

Io Dodds6 November 2021 19:45

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‘No stone unturned’: Houston mayor calls for investigation

The mayor of Houston has said he will “leave [no] stone unturned” as he launches a “thorough review and investigation” of the Astroworld disaster in his city.

Sylvester Turner, a Democrat who took office in 2015, told CNN he was demanding a “detailed briefing” from Live Nation, the concert organiser, and local emergency agencies on how the event got so out of control.

“We’re not going to leave any stone unturned,” he said on Saturday. “We want to look at every single detail to determine what led up to it and what additional steps that need to take place to keep it from happening again, especially in this city.”

He also told the New York Times: “We had more security over there than we had at the [baseball] World Series games… we are looking at all potential causes of this incident or what caused the cardiac arrest. We’re not taking anything off the table.”

Houston police are watching camera footage and talking with concert promoters and witnesses to find out what happened.

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner vows ‘no stone left unturned’ in Astroworld disaster

Lauren Io Dodds6 November 2021 18:55

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Astroworld organiser has history of safety breaches

The concert company behind the Astroworld Festival was fined for serious safety violations in 2017 by the US government, records reveal.

Live Nation Worldwide was issued a $13,500 (£10,001) penalty by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was reduced to $2,700 by a judge after appeal.

OSHA’s listing does not give precise details of the problem, but cites a US law regulating harnesses and restraint systems designed to protect employees from falling while working at heights.

It gave the “gravity” of the violation as 10, the highest possible rating.

In another incident, the company was fined $11,000 when a non-union employee was hit by a falling six foot long steel post at an event in California, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The Chronicle also reports that Live Nation was sued by a concert guest who broke her leg during a stampede at a Gwen Stefani show in North Carolina in 2016.

That lawsuit describes how a stray remark from Ms Stefani about seating being available near the stage triggered “a stampede rush of patrons from the lawn seating area through the reserved seating area and toward the front of the performance stage, with people knocking over and breaching the security barricades and other security matter”.

Beyond all that, Live Nation remains under special monitoring by the US Justice Department due to allegedly breaking competition law when it merged with Ticketmaster in 2010.

Officials claimed Live Nation had repeatedly retaliated against or threatened concert venues who tried to use competing ticket companies.

Io Dodds6 November 2021 18:36

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