At least eight people killed at Travis Scott's music festival

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At least eight people are dead and several others have been injured in a crowd surge at the Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas.

A compression of the crowd toward the stage occurred just after 9 pm on Friday while rapper Travis Scott was performing, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña confirmed at a news conference.

“The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, and that caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries,” he said.

Travis Scott performs on day one of the Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Houston. Source: Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP
Travis Scott performs on day one of the Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park on Friday. Source: Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP

"People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic."

The mayhem escalated until 9:38 pm when a "mass casualty incident" was triggered, fire chief Peña said.

The show was called off shortly after several people began suffering injuries. 

Officials transported 17 people to the hospital, including 11 who were in cardiac arrest, Peña said. 

Many people were also treated at the scene at NRG Park, where a field hospital had been set up.

A crowd of 50,000 showed up for the two-day event. The second day of the festival has been cancelled.

Festival goers are seen waiting behind a fence at day one of the Astroworld Music Festival. It is unknown if any of those pictured were injured or killed. Source: Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP
Festival goers are seen at day one of the Astroworld Music Festival. It is unknown if any of those pictured were injured or killed. Source: Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP

Cause of tragic disaster unclear

It was not yet clear what caused the disaster.

"I think it's very important that none of us speculate. Nobody has all the answers tonight," Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said. 

"If you don't have facts, if you don't have evidence, I'm not going to speak against that. We have hurting families out here."

Live Nation, the event organiser, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Travis Scott performs on day one of the Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park on Friday. Source: Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP
Scott stopped multiple times during his 75-minute performance when he spotted fans in distress near the front of the stage. Source: Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP

Travis Scott stopped to check on fans in distress

The Houston Chronicle said Scott stopped multiple times during his 75-minute performance when he spotted fans in distress near the front of the stage.

He asked security to make sure they were OK and help them out of the crowd. Emergency vehicles, lights and alarms flashing, cut through the crowds several times.

The fire department said on Twitter that a reunification centre had been set up for families who had not heard from loved ones at the festival.

The Houston Chronicle quoted Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo as calling it an "extremely tragic night."

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