On Friday, Nov. 5, at least eight people were left dead after chaos ensued at NRG Park in Houston, Texas, during Astroworld Musical Festival hosted and headlined by rapper Travis Scott.
Seanna Faith McCarty, one of the nearly 50,000 fans in attendance at the festival, shared a detailed account of the harrowing evening she witnessed which resulted in an additional 17 people transported to hospitals, 11 in cardiac arrest who were taken away by ambulance, and 300 people treated throughout the festival at an on-site field hospital.
In the lengthy note shared on Instagram, McCarty described the chest-high metal gates surrounding her as “barriers,” explaining that the ground around her was filled shoulder to shoulder with people as they waited idly for two hours for the show to begin.
“Within the first 30 seconds of the first song, people began to drown — in other people,” she wrote in her post that been liked more than one million times. “There were so many people…The rush of people became tighter and tighter. Breathing became something only a few were capable of. The rest were crushed or unable to breathe in the thick, hot air.”
Numerous attempts made by TODAY to contact McCarty have been unsuccessful.
When her friend began to have trouble breathing, the two tried to escape the crowd, but McCarty said “there was no where to go” and the shoving intensified. She described the packed nature of the crowd as being unable to lift your arms and put them back down again. As a result, the crowd began to sway, which is when things became more violent, according to McCarty. She recalled people beginning to scream and it becoming “impossible to breathe” while people began to collapse as they screamed for help.
“We begged security to help us, for the performer to see us and know something was wrong. None of that came,” She wrote. “We continued to drown. More and more. One person fell, or collapsed, it doesn’t matter how it started. Once one fell, a hole opened up in the ground…Person after person were sucked down...You were at the mercy of the wave.”
McCarty described the people around her having “terror” in their eyes, writing, “We knew there was a very big chance some of us would not make it out alive.”
After being pushed from the crowd, she likened the masses screaming to sounding like the “shrieks of animals.” At one point. McCarty said she was shoved to the ground she she saw a body of a man. At this point, she had realized that there were “two layers of fallen people” below the crowd.
“There were people. Unconscious. Being trampled by every foot that slammed into the ground as each individual tried to keep themselves upright,” she wrote.
After almost losing her balance and falling into the crowd once again, she said she was pulled back up by a man near her and was able to move toward the back of the crowd where she was hoisted over a guardrail. From there, she spotted a cameraman on an elevated platform that looked toward the crowd. McCarty said she climbed the ladder and found herself trying to get the cameraman’s attention for help.
“I climbed the ladder and pointed to the hole, telling him people were dying,” she wrote. “He told me to get off the platform, and continued filming. I screamed over and over again. He wouldn’t even look in the direction, so I pushed the camera so it pointed toward where I had just come from.”
She said the cameraman called somebody else up, so she tried to tell him exactly what she had explained to the cameraman about the situation. McCarty said neither did anything after trying to explain what she had witnessed. She finally climbed down and went under the platform to call 911 where she was told that the medical team was being called in.
Eventually, after breaking down, McCarty said she bumped into two men in medical shirts who she described as “looking confused and lost.” She explained the situation and claims that both men had gone in, but didn’t see anything. McCarty along with two girls she said were in the pit with her led the two men toward the scene, where they climbed over the gates to help.
“Those were the only ones working that were brave that night,” McCarty said. “I had endless respect for those two men. We waited, the two girls and I, and watched people being thrown over the railing, people trying to escape the cage we had been in.”
Another attendee of the festival, Alleighya Odom, 21, described a similar situation to NBC News, explaining that the event “was scary, like, genuinely” and the tightly packed crowd “was like this force on my back, this continuous force.”
"I started looking around, and there's people on the ground,” Odom said. “There's people looking at me, like, scared, eyes wild, like, 'Please help me.’ There's people behind me crying because they're being stepped on."
Fire Chief Samuel Peña said in a news conference that the “crowd began to compress toward the front of the stage” around 9:15 p.m. local time (10:15 p.m. ET).
"That caused some panic, and it started causing some injuries,” he said. “People began to fall out, become unconscious, and it created additional panic.”
Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston” called for a “detailed brief with all stakeholders” including the venue, Live Nation, and law enforcement.
In an official statement shared on the official Astroworld Instagram page, it was announced on Saturday morning that the second night of the music festival would not take place.
Scott released a statement on Twitter on Saturday, Nov. 6, writing that he was “absolutely devastated” by the evening’s events. In a series of videos on Instagram Stories later that day, Scott sent prayers to the eight victims who died, adding, “We’re actually working right now to identify their families so we can help assist them through these tough times.”
At this time, the exact cause of death of the eight victims has not been revealed. Though none of the identities of the victims have been officially released, the ages of the victims are: 14, 16, 20, two were 21, two were 23 and 27.
TODAY has been able to confirm four of the eight victims: Brianna Rodriguez, 16, Jacob "Jake" Jurinek, 20, Axel Acosta, 21, and Franco Patino, 21.
“We are all devastated and are left with a huge hole in our lives,” Jake Jurinek's father Ron Jurinek told TODAY in a statement. “Right now, we ask for the time and space for our family to process this tragic news and begin to heal. We’re comforted by the fact that the hundreds of people Jake touched over the years will carry a piece his spirit with them.”