“It may well be that this tragedy is a result of unpredictable events, of circumstances coming together that couldn’t possibly have been avoided," Hidalgo said during a press conference Saturday afternoon outside of the Wyndham Houston Hotel near NRG Park. "But until we determine that I will ask the tough questions.”
Hidalgo made the announcement as Houston officials released new details about the deadly incident.
"The families of those who died and everybody affected deserve answers as to what took place last night, and that’s why I’m calling for an objective, independent investigation as to what went on," Hidalgo said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner added that this remains "a very active" investigation at this time.
“I’m not aware of any incidents of this kind that have taken place at any one of our special events, neither on the county side or the city side. Or pretty much in the last 40 years, where anybody has lost life,” Mayor Turner said. “Now, we have had an event where they may have been a crowd rush or somebody had to be ejected or maybe somebody had been injured but nothing of this magnitude that any of us can recall.”
What we know right now
According to the Houston Fire Department:
- 50,000 people were in attendance
- Shortly after 9 p.m. Friday, the crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage, causing panic and injuries
- HFD responded to a mass casualty event initiated at about 9:30 p.m.
- There are eight confirmed fatalities with the causes of death unknown pending the Medical Examiner’s report
- Approximately 300 people were also treated for minor injuries and received EMS care at the field hospital from the start of the festival
- Saturday's festivities were canceled
- One of the victims was identified as a ninth-grade student from Memorial High School, according to Spring Branch ISD
Turner released the ages of the eight festival-goers who died as a result of the chaos at the event:
- One is 14 years old
- One is 16 years old
- Two are 21 years old
- Two are 23 years old
- One is 27 years old
- One is an unknown male
Turner also said six of the eight families have been notified. One of the families is from outside of the Houston/Harris County area.
The mayor also said 25 people injured at the festival were transported to area hospitals. Of those, 13 are still hospitalized, including five under the age of 18. Four of the 25 who were hospitalized have been discharged.
No one is reported missing at this time, the mayor said.
What happened at Astroworld Festival
HFD Chief Sam Peña said it started when the crowd began to rush toward the stage around 9:15 p.m. and people started passing out because they couldn't breathe. Others in the crowd panicked as they tried to help those who were unconscious.
Around 9:35 p.m., Peña said a mass casualty incident was declared because there were so many victims and emergency crews were overwhelmed. More than 55 HFD units responded.
Peña said hundreds of people were treated at a field hospital set up at the scene.
Some of the victims transported were as young as 10 years old, according to Hidalgo.
In an interview with CNN Saturday, Turner said he believes the eight people who died were between the age of 16 to 23.
HPD had hundreds of police officers at the concert and they responded as quickly as they could, according to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner. The chief said it's too early to place blame as they investigate what went wrong.
"So my job as a Chief of Police is to make sure that we find out what happened we will treat it as an investigation," he said.
On Friday afternoon, crowds were seen rushing the VIP gate, knocking over the fence and trampling over people who fell. There were no serious injuries reported after the incident.
Identifying the victims
Finner said they are working to identify the victims who died and families are asked to go to the Wyndham Hotel at 8686 Kirby if their loved ones are missing. HPD and HFD personnel and counselors are there to assist them. The Houston Office of Emergency Management also posted phone numbers for those who haven't heard from a loved one who was at the festival. Please call 311 or 713-837-0311.
"We got to grieve for these families right now," the police chief said. "Everybody in our city, pray for these families and we got to get through it."
Turner said the families of six of the eight victims have been notified.
Travis Scott releases statement: ‘Absolutely devastated’
"I am absolutely devastated by what took place last night. My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival.
Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life.
I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need. Thanks you to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their support.
Love you all"
Astroworld Festival organizers release statement
"Our hearts are with the Astroworld Festival family tonight — especially those we lost and their loved ones.
"We are focused on supporting local officials however we can. With that in mind, the festival will no longer be held on Saturday."
"As authorities mentioned in their press conference earlier, they are looking into the series of cardiac arrests that took place. If you have any relevant information on this. Please reach out to @HoustonPolice.
"Thank you to our partners at the Houston Police Department, Fire Department, And NRG Park for their response and support."