Victims of Astroworld festival crowd surge died from asphyxiation, report finds

Youngest victim was 9-year-old Ezra Blount and others ranged in age from 14 to 27

The 10 people who died were among 50,000 who attended the festival. AP

The 10 people who lost their lives in a crowd surge at the Astroworld music festival in Houston died from compression asphyxia, officials announced on Thursday.

Medical examiners with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston had to wait several weeks following the November 5 concert put on by rap star Travis Scott for additional test results before making final determinations on the cause of the deaths.

The 10 people who died were among 50,000 who attended the festival. An additional 300 people were injured and treated at the festival site while 25 were taken to hospital.

The youngest victim was 9-year-old Ezra Blount. The others who died ranged in age from 14 to 27.

Medical examiners said contributing factors in one man’s death were cocaine, methamphetamine and ethanol, a form of alcohol.

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed over injuries and deaths at the concert, where fans surged towards the stage during Scott’s concert, squeezing so tightly together that people could not breathe or move their arms.

Scott and the event organisers are the focus of a criminal investigation by Houston police. No one has been charged and no timetable has been set for when the investigation will be completed.

Scott’s lawyer reached out to the families of the 10 who died, offering to pay for their loved ones’ funeral costs. Several families turned down the offer.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo had proposed a third-party investigation of the planning of the festival, which was founded by Scott, but other members of Harris County’s governing body, known as a commissioner’s court, were concerned Ms Hidalgo’s investigation could lead to legal liabilities for the county.

Experts in crowd safety say an investigation by neutral outsiders could help avoid potential conflicts of interest and promote transparency.

A 56-page event operations plan for the Astroworld festival detailed protocols for dangerous scenarios, including a gunman, bomb or terrorist threats, and severe weather. But it did not include information on what to do in the event of a crowd surge.

Updated: December 16th 2021, 10:41 PM