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Wichitan recounts experience at Astroworld

Astroworld Wichita concertgoer
Published: Nov. 7, 2021 at 10:38 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Authorities in Houston have opened a criminal investigation involving the homicide and narcotics divisions looking into the deadly chaos that unfolded at the Astroworld Festival over the weekend.

Eight people are confirmed dead and many more are injured after a crowd rushed toward the stage as rapper Travis Scott performed Friday night. Among the sold-out crowd of at least 50,000 fans was one Wichita woman who is still trying to comprehend what she witnessed.

“People were yelling “help me, help me, someone is dying,” Kathleen Lai, who was attending the festival for her second year, said. “It was absolutely awful.”

Lai, who went with a group of ten friends, said during the deadly crowd surge she saw someone who appeared unconscious carried out of the crowd on a stretcher. She said she had been separated from her friends earlier in the night and found herself trapped in the crowd towards the beginning of Scott’s performance.

“I’ve seen mosh pits before, but this was different. People were pushing one another, screaming, and cursing at each other and then the surge happened,” she recalled. “People were pushing one another to the point where I felt absolutely suffocated and I couldn’t move. I couldn’t step anywhere; people were falling on each other.”

Thanks to a stranger, she said she was able to make it out of the crowd unharmed.

“He said I am going to get you out of here and I just held on that,” she said. “He was my guardian angel and we got out of there.”

She said she believes Scott, who briefly stopped performing after seeing the situation getting increasingly more dangerous, should have done more.

“These lives could have easily been saved. There was no empathy, no patience, and no regard to basic human decency at this festival.”

Authorities said the victim’s ages range from 14 to 27. Autopsies are still being conducted on the victims.

Scott released a statement Saturday saying in part “I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night...Houston police have my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life.”

A spokesperson for the Event Safety Alliance said the industry group questions whether there was enough security to stop people from entering the festival, noting a nationwide shortage of people working part-time security jobs.

At least two lawsuits have been filed in relation to Friday’s incident. Attorneys for concert-goers sued Travis Scott and festival sponsor Live Nation, stating they are responsible for what happened.

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