Update - (Nov. 14, 9 p.m.):
Ezra Blount, 9, is the 10th victim of the deadly crowd surge at the Astroworld music festival in Houston, according to a report from KSAT’s sister station KPRC.
According to his family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, Ezra was fighting for his life in the hospital after suffering critical injuries.
Both Ezra and his father were caught in the crowd as fans rushed the stage, and Ezra sustained injuries to his liver, lungs and had swelling to his brain, his family confirms.
Update - (Nov. 13, 1:30 p.m.):
A memorial service was held for one of the nine victims who died following the crowd surge at the Astroworld Festival in Houston.
Friends and family gathered to memorialize Brianna Rodriguez Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the La Paz Memorial Funeral Home, according to a report from KSAT’s sister station in Houston, KPRC.
Further details surrounding Rodriguez’s death are limited at this time.
Her dance team, the Height’s Redcoat Dance Team, took to social media and said Rodriguez “never failed to put a smile on everyone’s face” and was a “wonderful friend, teammate, dancer, sister, daughter, and leader.”
A balloon release and candlelight vigil were also held for Rodriguez on Friday.
Update - (Nov. 11, 2 p.m.): A Texas A&M student who was critically injured at the Astroworld festival has died, according to the family’s attorney.
Bharti Shahan, 22, is now the ninth victim of the Houston music festival headlined by Travis Scott.
Update - Nov. 11, 8:30 a.m.: Gov. Greg Abbott is forming the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety in the wake of the mass casualty event at Astroworld, his office announced Wednesday. Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony will lead the task force, which will also include safety experts, law enforcement agencies, firefighters, state agencies, music industry leaders, and others.
“To ensure that the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival never happens again in the Lone Star State, I am forming the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety. From crowd control strategies to security measures to addressing controlled substances, this task force will develop meaningful solutions that will keep Texans safe while maximizing the joy of live music events. I thank the members of this task force for coming together to work on this important issue,” said Abbott.
Update - Nov. 10, 8 a.m.: Bharti Shahani, the 22-year-old Texas A&M senior, is brain dead, according to family members who talked to ABC 13.
Her family previously told the publication that Shahani is on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit at Houston Methodist Hospital and has suffered multiple heart attacks.
HOUSTON — The FBI has joined with local authorities in Houston to investigate the Travis Scott concert, known as Astroworld, after multiple people died and dozens were hospitalized following a crowd surge on Friday.
The music festival kicked off its third annual installment Friday at NRG Park with an estimated 50,000 people in attendance. Scott originally kicked off the Astroworld Festival in 2018, more than ten years after the Astroworld theme park closed its doors.
The festival went on for a successful year two in 2019 but didn’t take place in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Astroworld tickets sold out in less than an hour last May, according to HypeBeast, and two-day general admission tickets cost more than $365 after fees and taxes.
Astroworld festival organizers shared a video in April that shows some of the chaos at NRG Park in years past - including fans rushing gates and hopping barriers - as part of a promo for the festival just days before tickets went on sale.
The same thing happened at this year’s festival with fans rushing festival entry gates and witnesses catching it on video. KPRC reporter Bill Barajas shared a viewer video of the incident on Facebook.
Folks storming the gate at the Astroworld festival.Posted by KPRC 2 Bill Barajas on Friday, November 5, 2021
Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña told CNN that at least one person was injured in the afternoon rush at the gates.
Festival attendees have said in interviews with multiple news outlets that a countdown clock was broadcast on stage about half an hour before Scott took the stage, which was just after 9 p.m.
“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,” ICU nurse and festival attendee Madeline Eskins told CNN.
Another concertgoer, Niaara Goods, told the Associated Press that “as soon as he jumped out on the stage, it was like an energy took over and everything went haywire. All of a sudden, your ribs are being crushed. You have someone’s arm in your neck. You’re trying to breathe, but you can’t.”
Peña said officials started receiving reports of injured people falling unconscious shortly after the Astroworld crowd surge and victims were being transported as early as 9:38 p.m., KSAT sister station KPRC reported.
“It seemed like it happened over the course of just a few minutes,” said Peña. “Suddenly we had several people down on the ground experiencing some type of cardiac arrest or medical episode and so we immediately started doing CPR and moving people.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the concert was officially stopped just after 10 p.m.
At least eight people died at the festival, which is now being considered a mass casualty event. Astroworld victims range in age from 14 to 27 Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said during a press conference Saturday.
The Astroworld victims have been identified as:
- John Hilgert, 14
- Brianna Rodriguez, 16
- Franco Patino, 21
- Danish Baig, 27
- Jacob Jurinek, 20
- Axel Acosta, 21
- Rodolfo Peña, 23
- Madison Dubiski, 23
The Associated Press reported that more than 300 people were treated at a field hospital at Astroworld.
Houston officials said 25 people were hospitalized and as of Saturday afternoon, 13 concertgoers remained hospitalized.
Two of the Astroworld concertgoers who remain hospitalized are 9-year-old Ezra Blount and 22-year-old Bharti Shahani.
Bernon Blount, Ezra’s grandfather, told CNN Tuesday that Ezra is in a medically induced coma in an attempt to overcome trauma to his brain.
“When my son went to the concert, he had my grandson on his shoulder. All the people pushed in and he could not breathe so he ended up passing out because of all the pressure that was being applied to his body. And when he passed out, Ezra fell off his shoulder and fell into the crowd,” Blount said.
According to TMZ, civil rights attorney Ben Crump is representing Ezra in a lawsuit, which details the boy’s condition and states that he is suffering severe damage to his liver, kidney and brain after being “trampled nearly to death.”
Shahani, a senior at Texas A&M, remains on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit at Houston Methodist Hospital. Family members have stated that she’s suffered multiple heart attacks.
She and her sister and a cousin all attended Astroworld Festival together but the trio were separated when the crowd surged.
Shahani’s cousin Mohit Bellani told ABC 13 that “once one person fell, people started toppling like dominos. It was like a sinkhole. People were falling on top of each other. There were like layers of bodies on the ground, like two people thick. We were fighting to come up to the top and breathe to stay alive.”
Namrata Shahani, Bharti’s sister, said she and Bellani had lost their phones and couldn’t find her sister.
“Once we let go of her hand, the next time we saw her, we were in the ER,” Namrata told ABC 13.
Bellani said Shashani “lost oxygen for 10 minutes one time and seven minutes at another time. So her brain stem was swollen to like 90 percent almost.”
Houston officials are still trying to determine the cause of the death for the victims and said multiple narratives are being investigated, including the crowd surge, a person possibly injecting others with drugs and concertgoers potentially getting trampled.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said during a news conference on Saturday that despite the rumors, people need to be respectful to victims’ families and allow officers to investigate.
Finner said, “one of the narratives was that some individual was injecting other people with drugs.”
While that claim has not been confirmed, Finner said opioid antidote Narcan was used to revive a security officer who reportedly felt a prick in his neck when he reached over to grab someone.
Scott has shared several updates on social media since Friday’s concert, including a statement on Twitter that says, in part, “I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night. My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival.”
Scott also posted an emotional video to his Instagram stories saying “I’m going to do everything I can to keep you updated,” and told his fans he loves them. He also asked for anyone who might have information about the festival deaths to contact the authorities.
“My fans mean the world to me and I always just really want to leave them with a positive experience. And anytime I can make out, you anything that’s going on, you know, I stop the show and, you know help them get the help they need,” Scott said in the video. “I could just never imagine the severity of the situation.”
Drake, who was also performing at Astroworld with Scott on Friday, released a statement on Instagram early Tuesday morning saying his “heart is broken for the families and friends of those who lost their lives and for anyone who is suffering.”
He added that he will “be of service in any way I can. May God be with you all.”
Drake was a surprise guest at Friday’s performance. Past guests at Astroworld Festival have included Post Malone, Kanye West, Pop Smoke, Megan Thee Stallion and Lil Wayne.
Scott pulled out of the Day N Vegas music festival, where he was set to perform this Saturday, in the wake of the Astroworld tragedy and an online petition on Change.org has called for Scott to be removed from the 2022 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
The petition states that Scott “wanted the show to keep going even as he saw unconscious and dead bodies being trampled and carried out,” but that claim has not been substantiated.
TMZ reported that Scott actually stopped the show “a few times to check on people who appeared to be unconscious or in distress, alerting security and other personnel over to them for assistance.”
The rapper was never informed about the deaths or hospitalizations of concertgoers, according to TMZ. But the tabloid also shared Twitter videos of the rapper singing above what appears to be an unconscious man while he is carried across the crowd.
In a statement released on Instagram on Saturday, Astroworld festival organizers said they were supporting local officials however they can and also announced that the second day of the festival would be canceled.
Dozens of lawsuits have already been filed against Scott, Drake, Live Nation and festival organizer ScoreMore, with one suit calling the mass casualty event a “predictable and preventable tragedy.”
Astroworld attendee Manuel Souza filed a petition on Saturday in Harris County District Court claiming the tragedy was “a motivation for profit at the expense of concertgoers’ health and safety,” according to Billboard.com.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement Saturday regarding Astroworld and said that the “State of Texas is ready to 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.”
Scott is reportedly fully covering the funeral costs for all the victims of the Astroworld festival and is also partnering with BetterHelp, an online counseling company, to offer free mental health services for anyone at the festival who needs it, TMZ reported.