The Travis Scott concert deaths put a spotlight on barriers and crowd management

Festival goers are seen rushing into the VIP area prior to Travis Scott performing during day one of the Astroworld Music Festival at NRG Park on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Houston. (AP)

To figure out what caused a crush of attendees at a Houston music event that left eight people dead and hundreds more injured, investigators are expected to look into the design of safety barricades and the usage of crowd control.

Authorities planned to investigate what went wrong during rapper Travis Scott's performance on Friday night using footage, witness interviews, and a review of event procedures. When the crowd stormed the stage, many were squeezed so tightly that they couldn't breathe.

Billy Nasser, 24, who flew from Indianapolis to attend the performance, claimed things got "really crazy" around 15 minutes into Scott's set, and people started crushing one another. "I was picking people up and trying to drag them out," he said.

According to Nasser, he discovered a concertgoer on the ground.

"I was the one who picked him up. He was being trampled by onlookers. People were stomping, so I picked up his head and looked at his eyes, which were white and rolled back to the back of his skull," he explained.

Outside of NRG Park over the weekend, a temporary monument of flowers, votive candles, grief cards, and T-shirts took shape.

After the concert, Michael Suarez, 26, went to see the growing memorial.

"It's a catastrophe." "No one wants to see or hear people die at a festival," added Suarez. "We came here to have a good time — a fantastic time — and it's heartbreaking to learn that someone has died."

According to friends and family, a 14-year-old high school student, a 16-year-old girl who liked dancing, and a 21-year-old engineering student at the University of Dayton were among the dead. The youngest was 14 years old, and the oldest was 27 years old.

Houston officials did not immediately release the names of the victims and the cause of death, but family and friends began naming their loved ones and sharing their tales on Sunday.

Thirteen patients were still in the hospital on Sunday. Their medical issues were kept a secret. At the concert, a field hospital treated around 300 people.

Officials from the city said they were still investigating what prompted the chaos at the sold-out Astroworld festival, which Scott founded. There were approximately 50,000 individuals in attendance.

Authorities have stated that they will examine the area's design surrounding the stage, among other things.

Julio Patino of Naperville, Illinois, was in London on business when he received a call in the middle of the night informing him that his 21-year-old son Franco had died. He claimed he had many concerns about what had happened.

Patino stated, "These concerts should be controlled." "If they didn't know how to do that, they should have canceled the concert right there and then when they noticed the crowd." "They should not wait until they see people laying on the floor, lifeless," he continued.

Steven Adelman, vice president of the Event Safety Alliance, founded after a stage at the Indiana State Fair in 2011 collapsed, killing seven people, assisted in writing industry guidelines.

Authorities will investigate whether things other than Scott taking the platform incited the crowd, aside from safety barricades and whether they correctly directed crowds or contributed to the crush of onlookers, Adelman added.

Another question, according to Adelman, is whether there was enough security, citing a nationwide shortage of personnel willing to work low-wage, part-time security jobs.

"Security was unable to stop people. "From an aesthetic standpoint, that is extremely unappealing," he stated. "However, it's too early to say what it means."

According to county records in Texas, Contemporary Services Corp., based in Los Angeles, was in charge of security at the festival. Representatives for the company, which claims to be "recognized worldwide as the pioneer, expert, and only employee owned company in the crowd management field" on its website, did not immediately respond to requests for comment via email and phone.

Officials with the Houston Police Department and the Houston Fire Department said their inquiry would include scrutinizing video obtained by concert promoter Live Nation and hundreds of recordings from audience members.

Officials planned to examine the event's security strategy and the different permits provided to organizers to see if they were followed correctly. Investigators also expected to meet with personnel from Live Nation, Scott, and concertgoers.

Izabella Ramirez of Texas City, who celebrated her 21st birthday, said that no one could move once Scott took the stage.

"Everyone was crammed in, and people were attempting to push their way to the front." Ramirez replied, "You couldn't even lift your arms."

Ramirez claimed she was pulled over the barricade by a security officer while her date, Jason Rodriguez, lifted her over.

"Everyone was yelling for various reasons. "They were either yelling for Travis or help," Rodriguez explained.

Scott could be heard interrupting the show and pleading for help for someone in the audience in a video posted to social media. "Security, somebody help real quick," he said.

Similar disasters have occurred at concerts, sporting events, and even religious events in the past. Thousands of fans sought to get into Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum to see The Who perform in 1979, and 11 people were killed. Other previous crowd disasters include the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium soccer match in Sheffield, England, which killed 97 people, and other calamities associated with the yearly hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Deaths caused by crowd surges, according to experts, are frequently the result of too many people crammed into too small a place.

One of the first of several predicted lawsuits was filed in state court in Houston on behalf of a man hurt in the crowd. Manuel Souza's lawyers sued Scott, Live Nation, and others, alleging that they were liable.

Scott said he was "absolutely devastated" by what happened in a tweet on Saturday. He promised to work "in collaboration with the Houston community to heal and support the families who are in need." 

Publish : 2021-11-08 12:25:00

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