Deadly crowd – but Travis Scott kept rapping

After the mass panic at an open-air concert in Texas, accusations against the musician are loud: He ignored what was happening in front of the stage and the calls for help. And the police apparently hesitated for a long time.

Emily Munguia thought she was going to die. “The pressure was so strong that I couldn’t breathe,” she told CNN . The 22-year-old American is one of around 50,000 visitors to the Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas , a two-day open-air event with a prominent cast. On Saturday night, when the dazzling rapper and festival organizer Travis Scott performed, mass panic broke out in the crowded crowd and eight people lost their lives, including two teenagers, 14 and 16 years old. At least 25 injured people had to be treated as inpatients in the hospital, and hundreds more went to a field hospital on the festival site.

“It was hell,” 17-year-old Nick Johnson told the New York Times . All of a sudden, they all pushed themselves to the stage from behind. Seanna Faith, another concert-goer, wrote on Instagram that the situation had reminded her of the collapse of a Jenga tower: “Person after person fell into the downward spiral.” Billy Nasser, also an eyewitness, spoke in the CNN interview of a “death trap”, people had been trampled to the ground. People collapsed around him, but the concert went on.

The concert didn’t end until 37 minutes later

A video shared on social media shows a girl climbing a platform for cameramen for help and screaming in desperation that people are dying in front of the stage. Other video recordings show that Travis Scott interrupts his performance several times, including when an ambulance arrives on the premises. But only at 10.15 p.m., 37 minutes after the first reports from collapsing viewers, did he end the show.

Scott commented on the accident the following day on Twitter: “I am completely devastated by what happened last night.” The Houston police have their full support to solve the “tragic loss of life”.

There are many unanswered questions about how the accident came about, said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. The police announced a thorough investigation. Video recordings will be evaluated in order to get to the bottom of the cause of the mass panic. “Within a few minutes several people went down and suffered a kind of cardiac arrest,” said a press conference on Saturday. Officials from the homicide and drug squads are also involved in the investigation. The police warned against speculation.

Rumors circulated on social media that someone injected people in the crowd. Police chief Troy Finner confirmed that one of the security guards felt a stab in the neck and passed out. Paramedics could have resuscitated him with emergency medication for an opiate overdose. In addition, there were reports of allegedly inadequate safety precautions and rescue workers who were not up to the situation. The chief of police said there were enough officers on duty to keep the crowd of 50,000 under control , according to a report in the Houston Chronicle . But he also said that he could not end the concert abruptly for fear of causing an uncontrollable riot.

Kylie Jenner among the audience

The festival was declared over on Saturday, other planned concerts were canceled. Rapper Scott founded the Astroworld Festival in his hometown of Houston in 2018. After a pandemic-related cancellation in 2020, the third edition took place this year. Scott is dating reality TV actress and entrepreneur Kylie Jenner, who is currently expecting her second child. She was with her sister Kendall Jenner and their three-year-old daughter in the audience in Houston, according to media reports they were not affected by the panic. She posted a story on Instagram about the incident: “Travis and I are shaken.” She wanted to make it clear that neither she nor her boyfriend was aware that there had been deaths. The news only reached them after the show.

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