Astroworld disaster: What is a crowd surge and what to do if you are in one

At least eight people died and many others were injured during Travis Scott’s performance at his Astroworld music festival in Houston, Texas.

The “mass casualty incident” occurred after a large crowd began pushing towards the front of the stage on the first night of the music festival, Friday, October 5.

According to the Houston Fire Department, about 50,000 people were assembled there on Friday night when the injuries occurred.

The eight people who lost their lives at the concert were aged 14 to 27, while the youngest injured person is only 10-years-old.

The highly-anticipated event turned into one of the deadliest crowd-control disasters at a concert in the world, the tragedy being similar to the Hillsborough disaster that took place on April 15, 1989, where 96 football fans lost their lives in a crowd crush at the Leppings Lane End of Sheffield Wednesday’sHillsborough Ground.

While the second night of the event has been cancelled, the concert on Friday was stopped by Live Nation, the organiser, 30 minutes earlier than planned.

However, this was 40 minutes after city officials said the “mass casualty event” has begun.

Following the tragedy, multiple lawsuits have been filed against Travis Scott and Drake, who was a surprise performer at the show.

This is not the first time the ‘SICKO MODE’ rapper has been involved in scandals related to his concerts’ chaotic energy.

In 2015, Scott pleaded guilty to charges of reckless conduct after he encouraged fans at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago to climb over security barricades and onto the stage.

Two years later, the rapper was sued by a fan who had become paralysed after being pushed from a third-story balcony and dragged onstage while the rapper performed in Manhattan.


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What is a crowd surge?

A crowd surge happens when a large group of people suddenly and quickly begins to move chaotically, making it impossible for some to escape the forces of the movement.

While many crowd surges can result in people being trampled by others, the main cause of death or injury in a crowd surge remains the lack of oxygen, people ending up being squeezed so tightly that they simply cannot breathe.

What to do if you’re in a crowd surge

  1. Leave while you still can: If you see a crowd thickening around you, do not hesitate to leave the highly congested area as soon as you can.
  2. Keep your balance: If you cannot leave the crowd, it is really important that you remain upright, given that in a crowd crush, people are pressed tightly together, so if one person falls, everyone around them will go down as well.
  3. Arms at chest level: If the pressure becomes too intense, fold your arms up to your chest to protect your ribcage and have enough space to breathe.
  4. Stay away from barriers and walls: The first victims of a crowd crush are usually the ones near the barriers or walls, so make sure you move away from them as soon as possible.

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