(Trends Wide) — In the week since the Houston Astroworld music festival turned deadly, questions have been raised about who should be responsible for the nine people who died and the hundreds who were injured.
Members of the public at the Travis Scott Astroworld Music Festival described a disorderly crowd surge on November 5 that felt like a “death trap,” leaving many trampled and struggling to breathe, even prompting some to administer CPR to those who fainted.
“I picked up a guy and his eyes rolled so I took his pulse. I knew he was dead,” said concert goer Billy Nasser. “I checked the people around me. And I had to leave it there. There was nothing I could do.”
A 22-year-old college student died Wednesday, becoming the ninth victim of the tragedy. The ages of the deceased range between 14 and 27 years. In addition, a 9-year-old boy who was seriously injured is in a doctor-induced coma.
The issue of security measures at the event, which was attended by some 50,000 people, has been a point of attention over the past week, drawing criticism from concert-goers and others. The families of the victims and those who survived have filed a series of lawsuits against Scott, the festival organizer and others involved.
“Everyone in that place, starting with the artist, has a responsibility for public safety,” Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña told Trends Wide earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Scott has maintained that he did not know what was happening in the crowd during his performance, refuting the version of city officials about his responsibility in the deadly wave.
Scott’s attorney, Edwin F. McPherson, issued a statement Wednesday, criticizing Houston city officials for “pointing,” “inconsistent messages,” and backtracking of statements.
Scott said he was devastated by what happened and stated that he will cover all funeral expenses for the victims.
As the research unfolds, this is what we know so far.
Authorities say they couldn’t stop the show
Several concert goers told Trends Wide that the surge came after Scott took the stage.
Jeffrey Schmidt said he and his friend tried to escape when breathing became more difficult.
“We didn’t know that hell was about to break loose. People started to faint and fall to the ground,” Schmidt told Trends Wide.
The first responders began to have news of injuries among the public around 9:30 p.m., and the show continued for another 40 minutes, according to authorities. And when questions arose as to why the show wasn’t stopped, authorities said it wasn’t in their power.
The “ultimate authority to end a show (was) with the production and the artist, and that should be through communication with public safety officials,” Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said earlier in the year. this week. “We don’t have the plug.”
Finner has said that the investigation revealed that police personnel told the production team that cardiopulmonary resuscitation was being performed on at least one individual and to stop the show. Finner did not specify who was on the production team or the timing of the notifications.
Firefighters stationed outside the venue were not in radio communication with emergency medical service providers hired by concert organizers as the situation unfolded, said Patrick M. “Marty” Lancton, president of the Professional Firefighters Association. from Houston.
Lancton added that instead, firefighters were given phone numbers, which are not a reliable method of communication during emergencies, given the potential weakness of the signal during events involving large gatherings.
Trends Wide this week obtained a 56-page plan of operations for the concert, showing a clear chain of command in the event of an incident.
The plan identifies the role of the executive producer as well as the festival director as the only people with the authority to stop the concert. The document obtained by Trends Wide is marked Version: 0.1, and it is unclear if this is the final version of the plan or when it was drafted.
McPherson, Scott’s attorney, said neither the festival director nor the executive producers are part of the rapper’s team.
McPherson also pointed to Finner’s comments Saturday that authorities were concerned about stopping early due to possible disturbances from concert goers.
All Astroworld victims were under 30 years old
Authorities have said it could take weeks for the medical examiner to determine the causes of death.
Here’s a look at what we know about the Astroworld victims:
Bharti Shahani, a 22-year-old student at Texas A&M University, passed away Wednesday night after being ventilated in critical condition for days, attorney James Lassiter said.
“This was her first music festival, our first music festival. She was looking forward to it. She had her costumes planned,” said Namrata Shahani, Bharti’s younger sister.
Axel Acosta Avila, 21, was a third-year student at Western Washington University and was interested in computer science, according to the university. He was from Tieton, Washington.
Danish Baig, 27, died trying to save his fiancée, who was being trampled and beaten in the rush of people at Astroworld, his brother Basil Baig told Trends Wide. He was from Euless, Texas. “People admired him for what he was,” said Basil Baig.
Jacob Jurinek, 20, who was studying journalism at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, was also among the victims, according to the university.
Another student, Franco Patino, was a senior at the University of Dayton studying mechanical engineering technology and biomechanics of human movement, the university said. “He was loved by many for the loyal, loving, selfless, protective, fun and loving person that he was,” his family said in a statement.
Rodolfo Peña, 23, lived in Laredo, Texas, and was studying at Laredo College, according to his Facebook page.
Brianna Rodriguez, 16, was a junior at Heights High School in Houston, according to a verified GoFundMe account created by her family. “Dancing was her passion and now she is dancing her way to heaven’s gates,” reads the fundraising post.
John Hilgert, 14, was a freshman at Memorial High School in Houston, a school district spokesman said.
Madison Dubiski, 23, was from Cypress, Texas.
Rosa Flores, Melissa Alonso, Travis Caldwell, Alanne Orjoux, Jenn Selva, Keith Allen, Victor Blackwell, Amir Vera, Maya Brown, Andy Rose, Caroll Alvarado, Jennifer Henderson, Chloe Melas, Claudia Domínguez, Gregory Lemos, Amanda Watts, Josh Campbell Trends Wide, Raja Razek, Anna-Maja Rappard, Kay Jones and Caroll Alvarado contributed to this report.