Authorities are investigating after an incident at the Astroworld Music Festival in Houston, TX killed eight people over the weekend. Sources say the crowd surged during the concert as people started trampling over one another. The festivities kept going for around 40 minutes after people first reported being injured.
A registered nurse experienced the madness firsthand. She took to Reddit to describe her side of the story.
Clamoring for Air
The show was set to start at 9 PM local time. Surveillance footage shows some guests knocking over metal gates and rushing past security a few hours before the show began.
Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña says he’s not sure what caused the rush. “We do know that we had people jump the fence,” and at least one person was injured in the afternoon rush, Peña said.
Rapper Travis Scott was the headliner of the event. Houston Police Chief Troy Finner apparently visited with him backstage to express his “concerns about the energy in the crowd” before he was about to go on.
ICU nurse Madeline Eskins and her boyfriend Sam were in the crowd. She says they started a countdown clock 30 minutes before Scott was about to go on. “And all of a sudden, people compressed up against each other and were pushing forward and backward. As the timer got closer to coming down to zero, it just — it got worse and worse,” Eskins said.
“I passed out because people were pushing up against me so much that I couldn’t breathe. Sam got people to apparently crowd surf my unconscious body to the security guard and I got carried to a little section behind GA and put down on a stool thing. When I woke up, I had a water bottle in my lap and had no clue what happened,” she wrote on Reddit.
“When I stood up, I looked around and people were getting carried out with eyes rolled back in their heads by security, bleeding from their nose and mouth. I yelled, ‘ANYBODY checked a pulse?’ The security guard, frantic, asked me to help him. I checked two people and one did not have a pulse. I told them I was an ICU nurse and then another security guard, hearing that, said, ‘Please come help us.’”
“He takes me to the part of the crowd behind GA where I see 3 bodies sprawled out and people who I assume were medics/medical staff doing CPR. I immediately see that there aren’t enough medics for this, so I relieve one medic of CPR. I ask where the ambu bag is, where the AED is, where the stretcher and ambulance is, and where tf any shit is, and they said essentially there is none. There’s one ambu bag, one stretcher and one AED for three- now four people who are pulseless and blue. People from the crowd were trying to help. Teenagers doing CPR but they’re doing it incorrectly. Then I see other people doing CPR on people who still have a pulse because nobody has done a pulse check.”
“I lost Sam for I don’t even know how long but the remainder of the concert I was doing compressions, bagging, and helping move people to stretchers and checking pulses on new bodies as they got crowd-surfed to where we were. People were trampled, crushed. There was no cell service to call for help. People were begging the crew operating the stage lights around us to stop the concert and they wouldn’t. I am so disappointed and sad. Finally, the cops showed up with more stretchers and started getting people out but I know at least two had been pulseless for 15 minutes before they got on a stretcher.”
Another concert goer, Sarai Sierra, said she saw multiple people who could not breathe after Scott appeared on stage.
“I truly thought that if I fell it would’ve been the end of me. I spent at least 15 minutes just getting pushed around due to mosh pits or simply because people were ‘raging,'” Sierra said.
By 9:38 PM, a “mass casualty event” had been declared, Peña said.
“From the time that the mass casualty incident was declared, to the first unit on scene, was two minutes when we began to make patient contact,” he said.
Others were pleading for help as the crowd continued to charge, but they said no one could hear them over the sound of the music.
The performance finally came to an end just after 10 PM.
Around 50,000 people attended the sold-out event. Eight victims have been identified so far. Some of the victims’ ages have been released. They are 14, 16, 21, 23, and 27 respectively. At least 25 people were taken to a local hospital, while another 300 were treated at a field hospital.
Police are still investigating the possible cause of the surge.