As Astroworld Festival Safety Questions Mount, 9th Victim Tragically Dies of Injuries Suffered During Travis Scott Concert
Another Astroworld Festival attendee has tragically succumbed to her injuries, raising the death toll connected with Travis Scott’s November 5th performance at NRG Park in Houston, Texas, to nine.
Travis Scott Astroworld was Texas A&M Student’s First Music Festival
The deceased, a 22-year-old-student at Texas A&M University and first-generation daughter of immigrants, had been on a ventilator and in critical condition since last Friday. She attended the Travis Scott concert with her cousin and younger sister.
“This was her first music festival, our first music festival,” her sister said, according to CNN. “She was looking forward to it. She had her outfits planned.”
“For the first time in her life, she just wanted to have fun, and that was taken from her,” her sister continued.
Astroworld Turned Deadly Soon After Travis Scott Took the Stage
Travis Scott’s third-annual Astroworld Festival was meant to be a two-day event featuring musical performances by the Houston native and multiple other artists. But the opening night turned deadly shortly after Scott took to the stage at 9:00 p.m., with surviving audience members describing a raucous crowd and a concert venue that quickly took on the feeling of a death trap.
“I saw people screaming in front of my face, just trying to fight for their lives, basically. Everyone’s life was in danger, and I just saw people passed out, bodies on the floor, just a lot of stuff you don’t see on a daily basis,” one concert-goer told CNN.
“At one point, I thought I wasn’t going to make it.”
In addition to the nine fatalities, hundreds of people were injured in the melee, some critically. The victims were all between the ages of 9 and 27.
Although Scott briefly paused his performance twice upon noticing some concert-goers in distress, he quickly resumed. He and other Astroworld organizers allowed the show to continue for nearly 40 minutes after Houston authorities declared the concert a “mass casualty incident.”
Astroworld Security Denied Houston Firefighters Access to NRG Park
In the week since the tragedy, questions have mounted over the safety protocols in place at NRG Park.
On Thursday, the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association president told CNN that a district fire chief from the station closest to the venue was twice denied access to NRG Park on Friday. He had apparently stopped by to conduct a walk-through ahead of that evening’s concert.
“As with any big, large-scale event, he took a ride over and said ‘hey, let’s check everything out,'” Patrick “Marty” Lancton said. “In the city of Houston, a district fire chief is usually over three or four stations. When a response is required in his area, he is the first to respond. He would be the one taking command if something happened and determine what resources are needed.”
According to Lancton, the district chief was first denied access by security. He then asked to speak with the head of security, who also refused him entry to the venue.
Contemporary Services Corporation, the company handling Astroworld Security, did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. However, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña has reportedly backed Lancton’s version of events.
According to Lancton, the city’s fire department “had no command and controlled presence on this inside of the venue” but were nearby “in a support role.” Firefighters were monitoring Houston Police Department radio traffic and noticed a growing tension from authorities on the ground.
“They took it upon themselves when they started to hear radio traffic, and self-initiated a Houston Fire Department response and upgraded it to a mass casualty incident,” Lancton told CNN.
Astroworld Emergency Plan Directed Staff to Refer to any Fatality as a “Smurf”
Travis Scott has long had a reputation for chaotic performances and unruly audiences. In fact, he’s been twice arrested in the past for encouraging audiences to bypass security protocols and rush the stage. Yet, the security and emergency response plan prepared by a private consultant at the behest of Astroworld promotor Live Nation did not include protocols for handling a dangerous crowd surge.
“It doesn’t address crowd crush or crowd craze, moshing or stage diving,” Paul Wertheimer, a crowd security expert and founder of Crowd Management Strategies, told NPR. And it doesn’t discuss anything significant about what to do in an emergency situation.”
The plan does warn of the “potential for a civil disturbance/riot” when “large groups of people are gathering,” stating “that properly dealing with this type of scenario is proper management of the crowd from the minute the doors open.” But the document provides no details on exactly how to do that.
In the event of a fatality, the document directs staff to “never use the term ‘dead’ or ‘deceased’ over the radio.” Instead, according to NPR, they were to refer to any dead concert-goer as a “smurf.”
Houston Astroworld Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyers: Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here for a Free Consult.
Our Houston Astroworld Festival Injury and Wrongful Death Lawyers have been hired by numerous concertgoers seriously injured during Travis Scott’s November 5th performance at NRG Park. We continue to urge victims and their families to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting payment for medical bills, funeral expenses, or other forms of compensation from Scott, Live Nation, and other Astroworld entities.
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