Attendees at the Astroworld music festival at NRG Park in Houston described the “scary” scene during Travis Scott’s performance, in which eight people were killed and many more were injured in a crowd surge.
Scott himself could be seen in video at times pausing the show to try and assist an unconscious fan.
“We need somebody to help, somebody passed out right here,” the rapper said at one point in the concert’s live stream through Apple Music (via The Sun). “Don’t touch him, don’t touch him. Everybody just back up. Security, jump in real quick. … Somebody jump in. Come on, come on!”
In comments on social media and other, mainstream media reports, festival goers described overcrowding, pushing, moshing and people frantically trying to get help as the concert continued.
“It was scary, like, genuinely,” Alleighya Odom, 21, told NBC News. “I started looking around and there’s people on the ground. There’s people looking at me, like, scared, eyes wild, like, ‘Please help me.”
“It was like hell,” Nick Johnson, 17, told the New York Times. “Everybody was just in the back, trying to rush to the front.”
“I’m glad none of us got hurt, but we saw people passing out and just getting injured,” one concert goer told KHOU 11 in Houston. “There were just so many people there. It felt like a million people at once, people passing out, couldn’t even catch your breath.”
Some fans shared their accounts directly to social media, with some disturbing images circulating online of people being carted out by security, medics performing CPR or people lying on the ground amid mobs of fans.
Other videos that circulated on Reddit show fans attempting to climb a camera tower to try and convey a message to the crew to stop the show.
“People are f–ing dying,” a fan screamed in one video via Reddit. “We’re trying to save them! That’s somebody’s kid.”
Earlier that day, reporters also saw videos of fans breaking through security fences and racing past security, something that has happened before at various music events.
“I got there around 3 and saw people already struggling to stand straight,” concertgoer Neema Djavadzadeh told The New York Times. “There was a lot of mob mentality going on, people willing to do whatever to be in line for merch, food, shows, you name it. A lot of fights broke out throughout the day.”
Scott on Saturday issued a statement saying he was “absolutely devastated” by the news of the deaths and injuries at the concert. The second day of the two-day festival was canceled on Saturday, with the festival also issuing a statement about cooperating fully with authorities.
“My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival,” Scott wrote on Twitter. “Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life.”
Authorities said that at least 17 people were rushed to local hospitals, including 11 who were in cardiac arrest, according to Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña. Dozens of people were also treated at the scene, where a field hospital had been set up. About 300 people were examined at that site throughout the day, he said. Officials are continuing to investigate the tragedy to determine the exact causes of the surge.
Both the Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued statements about the tragedy, with Turner telling the New York Times that the Astroworld festival had more security than the World Series and that they were investigating all possible causes for the cardiac arrests. The mayor also added that the ages of the dead ranged from 16-23.