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Lawsuits filed over Astroworld tragedy

Fourteen lawsuits have already been filed, as authorities warn that the death toll may rise

By James Hanley on 08 Nov 2021

Coachella 2020 line-up revealed

Travis Scott


image © Frank Schwichtenberg

Lawsuits have been filed over the deadly crowd surge at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas.

At least eight people, aged between 14-27, died and hundreds others injured in Friday’s (5 November) tragedy at the 50,000-capacity event at NRG Park, promoted by Live Nation. A planned second night was cancelled.

Live Nation released a statement saying it was “heartbroken for those lost and impacted”.

“We will continue working to provide as much information and assistance as possible to the local authorities as they investigate the situation,” it said.

A total of 14 lawsuits have already been filed by survivors in Houston District Court in relation to injuries sustained at the festival, according to Billboard. The first names festival headliner and founder Scott, Live Nation, individuals associated with NRG Park and Texas-based festival producer Scoremore Holdings, along with several other defendants.

A second also names Scott and Live Nation, but adds Drake, who appeared as a special guest during the headline set.

Scott made statements on his social media accounts, speaking of his devastation.

“I’m absolutely devastated by what took place,” he said in an Instagram video. “My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened.

“Anytime I can make out anything that’s going on, I stop the show and help them get the help they need. I could just not imagine the severity of the situation.”

In 2018, the rapper reportedly pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after being accused of inciting a riot at a 2017 concert in Arkansas’ Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion.

We still don’t know what caused the initial surge of the crowd

Meanwhile, Houston fire chief Sam Pena has warned the final death toll from Astroworld could rise.

“At this moment what we know is that we have eight people who have died as a result of the injuries suffered at that event,” he told MSNBC. “That number may rise because we did transport more people in critical condition, we took 11 that they were performing CPR en route to the hospital.

“A total of 23 patients were transported after the mass casualty incident was initiated, so that number, hopefully it doesn’t, but it may rise.”

Pena stressed that the cause of the “unspeakable tragedy” was still being investigated.

“We still don’t know what caused the initial surge of the crowd up towards the stage but the Houston police department is looking at video that was taken from cameras that were present there for security purposes and other reasons so that’ll be part of their investigation,” he said. “They’ll be dissecting exactly what the issues were and what caused the surge and if there was anything else that contributed to this tragedy.

“We don’t know what caused it but we had and estimated 50,000 people in that venue. It was just a matter of people trying to push towards the front and get towards the front, that’s what I anticipate, but again that will be determined after they review the film and they review the video that they have from those cameras.

“From the Houston fire department’s perspective, we’ll be looking at the layout of that venue itself and considering items as far as was there enough means of egress, what caused the inability for people to escape that situation so again we will be dissecting this thing in its entirety.”

We want to make sure that this does not happen again and we learn from this

Video footage shows Scott pausing his 75-minute set when medical emergencies became apparent.

Asked whether the show should have been halted earlier, Pena added: “That’s all going to be part of the investigation. Police with Live Nation did decide to, in essence, pull the plug when situation started to escalate.

“It was a chaotic and really tragic event but they did an outstanding job to get resources in there and try to disperse the crowd as quickly as they could. But we’re going to be looking at this thing from top to bottom because we want to make sure that this does not happen again and we learn from this.”

Pena also addressed accounts of a concert-goer injecting other people, including a security guard, with drugs.

“We did hear the same thing,” he said. “Again, we are going to wait for the medical examiner’s determination on the cause of deaths of these individuals so we’ll get a better picture as soon as the investigation progresses.”

 


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