HOUSTON — At least eight people died and several were injured during mass chaos at the Travis Scott concert at the Astroworld Festival in Houston Friday night, Fire Chief Samuel Pena confirmed.
He said about two dozen people were rushed to Houston hospitals and at least 11 of them were in cardiac arrest when they were transported.
Some of the victims transported were as young as 10 years old, according to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
"Our hearts are broken," she said.
They are working to identify the victims who died and families are asked to go to the Wyndham Hotel at 8686 Kirby if their loved ones are missing. HPD and HFD personnel and counselors are there to assist them. The Houston Office of Emergency Management also posted phone numbers for those who haven't heard from a loved one who was at the festival. Please call 311 or 713-837-0311.
"We got to grieve for these families right now," Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said. "Everybody in our city, pray for these families and we got to get through it."
Pena said it started when the crowd began to rush toward the stage around 9:15 p.m. and people started passing out because they couldn't breathe. Others in the crowd panicked as they tried to help those who were unconscious.
Around 9:35 p.m., Pena said a mass casualty incident was declared because there were so many victims and emergency crews were overwhelmed. More than 55 HFD units responded.
Pena said hundreds of people were treated at a field hospital set up at the scene.
HPD had hundreds of police officers at the concert and they responded as quickly as they could, according to Finner. The chief said it's too early to place blame as they investigate what went wrong.
"So my job as a chief of police, is to make sure that we find out what happened we will treat it as an investigation," he said.
Earlier Friday afternoon, crowds rushed the VIP gate, knocked over the fence and trampled over people who fell. There were no serious injuries reported after the incident.
The Astroworld Festival for the rest of the weekend has been canceled.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner released a statement:
"What happened at Astroworld Festival was a tragedy. An estimated 50,000 people attended the event Friday night, expecting to enjoy a music concert with friends and return home safely. I extend my condolences to the families of the eight people who died and the approximately 17 people who were injured at the event. Many of them suffered cardiac arrest.
Immediately following the tragedy, the city began to assist with resources and necessary support. A reunification center is setup at 8686 Kirby Dr. for families to reconnect with loved ones who attend the event. Families searching for loved ones may also call 3-1-1.
This was a major event that happened in the city and on Harris County property. Today, law enforcement will speak with concert promoters and witnesses and review videos available from the event and inside the festival venue.
I have called for a detailed briefing from all stakeholders, including Live Nation, Harris County, NRG Park, Police, Fire, Office of Emergency Management, and other agencies, explaining how the event got out of control leading to the deaths and injuries of several attendees."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement:
"What happened at Astroworld Festival last night was tragic, and our hearts are with those who lost their lives and those who were injured in the terrifying crowd surge," said Governor Abbott. "Thank you to the first responders and good Samaritans who were on site and immediately tended to those who were injured in the crowd. The State of Texas is ready assist in the response, and I have directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to make state resources available to support the investigation. I ask Texans to join Cecilia and me in lifting up in prayer those affected by this tragedy."