No. 3 is still in critical condition from Astroworld – Denver Post
by JUAN A. LOZANO
HOUSTON (AFP) – Three party-goers remain in critical condition after a huge crowd attended the Travis Scott performance that left eight dead and hundreds injured at the Astroworld music festival, the mayor of Houston said on Wednesday.
Mayor Sylvester Turner has not provided details about the conditions of fans who have been hospitalized since the prominent rapper’s Friday night performance. But the family of a 9-year-old boy who attended the party with his father said the boy was in a coma due to injuries to his heart, lungs and brain.
Authorities have launched a criminal investigation, but Turner told city council members during their weekly meeting that it may take some time to determine the cause of the deaths at the completely ran out festival, which drew about 50,000 people.
“How did this happen? That’s a question we still have in our minds,” Turner said. “How did this happen? Where are the pitfalls? Where were the failures? Where were the gaps? We owe it to family members, all who attended and quite frankly the city as a whole, to first responders, all of them, how did this happen? “
Turner read the names of the eight people who had died before stopping the meeting for a moment of silence. The victims ranged in age from 14 to 27 and came from Texas, Illinois and Washington, according to authorities.
Houston Police Chief Troy Wiener scheduled a press conference about the investigation later Wednesday. He hasn’t held a briefing since Saturday, but released a statement this week confirming that he met with Scott before the show to express his safety concerns. Finner has not publicly identified those concerns.
The festival grounds and theater where Scott performed have yet to be dismantled as authorities and lawyers representing the wounded and their families continue to comb the area. The festival was held in the parking lot that is part of NRG Park, a complex consisting of playgrounds, an arena, and a conference center.
Bernon Blount said his son and 9-year-old grandson Ezra attended the festival together but separated during the wave of crowd. On Tuesday, he said the child was in a medical coma at a Houston hospital.
“I am angry that he tore our family apart, and that could have been avoided if the people in positions of power had done the right thing,” Blount said.
Contingency plans for the Astroworld music festival did not include protocols for dangerous increases in audiences like the one that unfolded during the rush to see Scott, who founded the festival. More than 20 lawsuits have been filed, accusing organizers of failing to properly implement simple crowd or staff control measures. Among those sued are Scott, Live Nation, and rapper Drake, who performed with Scott.
Houston police and fire departments said they have reviewed and approved the safety plans. But the Houston Fire Department’s union chief hit back on Tuesday, saying the firefighters had no presence inside the festival and were not provided with radios to communicate directly with the organizers.
Experts say crowd deaths occur because people are crammed too tightly to get enough oxygen. It is not usually because they are run over.
Authorities said part of their investigation will include reviewing whether the music promoter and others behind the festival have complied with the plans presented.
There is a long history of similar disasters at concerts, as well as sporting and religious events. In 1979, 11 people were killed when thousands of fans tried to enter the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati to watch a concert for The Who. Other disasters afflicting fans include the deaths of 97 people at a football match at Hillsborough Stadium in 1989 in Sheffield, England, and several disasters linked to the annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
Associated Press writer Paul J. contributed to this report. Webber in Austin, Texas.