Officials confirmed that eight people, including a fourteen and sixteen year old, died and 25 others were hospitalized at the Astroworld music festival on Friday in Houston.
Seven of the victims ranged from 14 to 27 years old, Mayor Sylvester Turner said during a Saturday afternoon press conference. One victim’s age could not be determined.
Of the 25 people that were transported to the hospital, five were under the age of 18. Thirteen people are still hospitalized, the mayor added. No one is reported missing.
Crowds began to gather around 9 p.m. local time for a performance by rapper and festival founder Travis Scott. Concertgoers pushed toward the front of the stage prior to the start of the concert, leading to panic and some injuries. The mayhem escalated until 9:38 p.m. when a “mass casualty incident” was triggered, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said early Saturday. The cause of death was not yet known for the eight victims.
Scott, who launched the festival in his hometown in 2018, said he was “absolutely devastated.”
“Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life,” he said in a tweet. “I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need.”
Around 50,000 people were supposed to attend the festival, NBC News reported. The event was supposed to last through Saturday, but officials canceled the second day following the stampede.
Rumors also swirled on social media that unknown people were injecting other patrons with drugs, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said.
He added the agency has a report of one security officer who was reaching to grab a citizen and passed out after feeling a prick in his neck. Finner said the officer was revived with Narcan, a common drug used to treat narcotic overdoses in emergencies, and was later found to have a prick consistent as “if someone was trying to inject.”
The investigation into what happened at the event and led to the casualties is still ongoing.
“This incident is being thoroughly investigated and reviewed thoroughly. It is important for us to ascertain from last night what took place, what happened, where missteps may have occurred,” Mayor Turner said.