An investigation revealed that at least seven of the 10 victims killed in the Astroworld festival crowd surge were clustered in the same small area, which was enclosed on three sides by metal barriers.
A Washington Post investigation gathered dozens of videos, photos and witness testimony to piece together a timeline of exactly where the victims were during the deadly crowd surge at the Houston festival.
The surge at the sold-out event of 50,000 people on November 5 left hundreds injured and ten dead, including a nine-year-old boy.
The dead, whose ages ranged from nine to 27, include Rodolfo ‘Rudy’ Pena, 23; Jacob Jurinek, 20; Franco Patino, 21; Brianna Rodriguez, 16; Danish Baig, 27; Axel Acosta, 21; John Hilgert, 14; Madison Dubiski, 23, Baharti Shahani, 22, and nine-year-old Ezra Blount.
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At least seven of the 10 dead Astroworld victims were clustered in the same small area enclosed on three sides by metal barriers
Massive crowd is shown pushing and shoving, with some being lifted over the barricades to safety, as Travis Scott performs at the Astroworld Festival on Nov. 5, 2021.
Concertgoers have described the packed crowd growing dangerous hours before Scott appeared on stage at 9pm, and seeing people collapse while the rapper performed
A crowd surge that started just before headliner Travis Scott (pictured) took the stage left 10 people dead, including a 9-year-old boy, and hundreds injured
Concertgoers have said the packed crowd was growing dangerous hours before Scott appeared on stage at 9pm, and described people collapsing during the rapper’s performance. Scott’s attorneys have said he did not know about the deaths and injuries until after the show.
The Post’s investigation showed that seven of the deceased were relatively close to each other in the south quadrant audience area. The general audience was divided into quadrants to the north, south, east and west.
Seven of the victims – Pena, Jurinek, Patino, Baig, Acosta, Dubiski, and Ezra – were near the center of the south quadrant.
The tragedy was set in motion when the audience by the main stage began to grow around 8:30 pm, after a concert by singer SZA ended at the adjacent secondary stage.
Fans who had just finished watching her made their way toward the already packed main stage area. Most headed straight toward the south quadrant, the Post reported.
That stream of people increased crowd pressure and left people in the area caught in a current of people moving toward the stage.
Mohammad Amleh told the Post that he and a friend got caught in the rush, and were pushed toward the south quadrant.
‘Once the crowd was moving, you were moving with it, there was no, you were at the mercy of the crowd pretty much,’ he said. ‘There was no way you would have been able to move around or keep yourself stable.’
Three crowd experts told the Post that the influx of people into the south quadrant, plus the rigid dividers, would have compressed the crowd and made it very difficult for people in the section to exit.
Seven of the victims-Rodolfo ‘Rudy’ Pena, Jacob Jurinek, Franco Patino, Danish Baig, Axel Acosta, Madison Dubiski, and Ezra Blount- were located near the center of the south quadrant
A close up shot of the crowd at Astroworld where ten people died following a deadly crowd surge
Chaos at the concert in Houston ensued as thousands of people surged toward the stage and hundreds were injured in the crush
Other than the rushing fans, the expert said the layout of the barriers was to blame because concert organizers could not cut people off from surging toward the stage.
‘In general, that’s not a safe design because you can’t regulate the number of people who are in a high-pressure area,’ Keith Still, a visiting professor at the University of Suffolk who specializes in crowd safety and crowd risk analysis, told the Post.
One Astroworld attendee who was in the south quadrant said that as soon as Scott took the stage at 9pm the crowd erupted.
‘As soon a Travis reaches the stage there’s just this whole different shift into the crowd,’ Jacob Amaya told the Post. ‘I was like, man, this is like, this is not safe. Like, I started to notice, I look in front of me, I see people crying. I look in the side of me, I see my friends, they’re yelling for help, they’re saying ‘we gotta get out.’
Experts told the Post that the crowd collapse occurred at 9:12 pm, almost immediately after Scott took the stage.
In video obtained by the Post, three concertgoers who died were unconscious in a pile of other fallen fans only 16 minutes into Scott’s show.
The Post also obtained footage showing Ezra yards away from Dubiski.
Footage from the area adjacent to where Ezra was, captured fans shouting, ‘She can’t breathe!’ repeatedly as well as people begging for help.
People in the south quadrant also were seen trying to hop over the security fence, but getting pinned up against it, leaving them trapped and unable to escape.
While the south quadrant was in total chaos, a concertgoer said people in the west quadrant were completely unaware of the tragedy unfolding nearby.
By 9:18pm, a Houston firefighter outside the venue who was monitoring radio communication channels noted a ‘report of individual with crush injury/breathing difficulty,’
By 9:30pm another entry noted: ‘HPD (Houston Police Department) reports multiple people trampled, passed out at front of stage,’
Minutes later at 9:38 pm the Fire Chief called the calamity a ‘mass casualty event’ but the show went on for 40 more minutes until 10:11 pm
Police still are trying to determine whether the deaths occurred only because of the surge or if other factors, such as accidental fatal overdoses, came into play, a source close to the investigation told the Wall Street Journal.
There were 300 people injured at the event, including 11 who went into cardiac arrest and dozens more who were knocked unconscious in the surge.
Scott released a statement in the aftermath of the tragedy, saying he was ‘absolutely devastated’ by the loss of life.
The Houston native went on: ‘My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at the 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.’
He has since offered to pay the cost of the victims’ funerals and has set up a counseling service for fans affected by the tragedy.
VICTIMS OF TRAVIS SCOTT’S ASTROWORLD FESTIVAL
Ezra Blount, 9
Ezra Blount, 9
Ezra Blount, of Dallas, Texas, was reportedly a big fan of rapper Travis Scott’s music, and was sitting on his father’s shoulders when the countdown to Scott’s performance began at NRG Park on November 5.
When he got to the hospital, his family discovered Ezra incurred severe damage to his brain, kidney, and liver after being ‘kicked, stepped on, and trampled, and nearly crushed to death,’ according to a lawsuit his family has filed against Scott and the event´s organizer, Live Nation.
Baharti Shahani, 22
Medics had told told Bharti’s family her chances of survival are ‘nothing,’ her distraught father previously told ABC13
The 22-year-old was a student at Texas A&M, where she had switched her major from chemical engineering to computer science, her father said.
‘It was her first festival, she wanted to have a good time. For the first time in her life, she wanted to have fun and that was taken away from her,’ her sister, Namrata Shahani, added.
In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Shahani’s distraught family shared the nightmare they lived searching in hospitals after losing touch with her, eventually finding her in critical condition at Houston Methodist.
Shahani’s family has said nobody has reached out to them after the disaster at Astroworld.
John Hilgert, 14
John Hilgert, 14
John Hilgert, of Hunters Creek Village, was identified as one of the concert fatalities on Saturday by officials at Memorial High School, where he was a freshman student.
Hilgert attended Friday’s concert with his long-time friend Robby Hendrix, 15.
Henrdix’s mother, Tracy Faulkner, bought her son’s ticket for his birthday and ‘ultimately regrets the decision’.
‘Everything about that night was a tragedy,’ Faulkner told the Houston Chronicle. ‘They were both in the same place at the same time and one came home and one we will never see.’
She said Hilgret and Hendrix had known each other for years and played football together.
‘John was a good student and athlete and so polite. He was the sweetest and smartest young man,’ she shared.
Brianna Rodriguez, 16
Brianna Rodriguez, 16
Brianna Rodriguez was a dancer and junior in high school. On Saturday her family confirmed that she was one of the nine victims who died.
A GoFundMe account set up by her family described her as a ‘beautiful vibrant 16-year-old’.
‘Dancing was her passion and now she’s dancing her way to heaven’s pearly gates.’
Jacob Jurinek, 20
Jacob Jurinek attended the concert with his best friend Franco Patino when both were trampled to death. The pair grew up in the same Illinois town of Naperville.
A friend, going by the name Ana Lissa Marie, was distraught at the death of Jurinek, who was studying art and media at Southern Illinois University, and had traveled to Houston with Patino to celebrate Jurinek’s birthday.
‘I lost all my respect for Travis Scott,’ she tweeted.
‘What happened was absolutely disgusting. RIP to all the ones that lost their lives. To Jacob Jurinek, you will be missed kid. thank you for all the laughs.
‘My condolences go to all the families that lost lives.’
Other victims included University of Dayton student Franco Patino (right), 21, who was attending the event with his best friend, 20-year-old Jacob Jurinek, when both were trampled to death
Franco Patino, 21
The University of Dayton confirmed to DailyMail.com that student Franco Patino of Naperville, Illinois, attended the concert in Houston on Friday.
The mechanical engineering technology major was involved in several campus extracurriculars and had most recently been working in a co-op program in Mason, Ohio.
University president Eric F Spina extended his sympathy and prayers to Patino’s loved ones and the campus community.
Patino’s fraternity, Alpha Psi Lambda, also issued condolences to his friends and family.
‘It is with a very heavy heart, Alpha Psi Lambda National, Inc shares that our brother, Franco ‘Cuauhocelotl’ Patino, has passed on to Omega Chapter,’ the organization wrote on Facebook.
‘We extend our condolences to his family, friends, Alpha Nu Chapter and all that share in this loss. May his memory be eternal.’
The college senior joined the fraternity’s University of Dayton chapter last year.
Patino (left) and Jurinek grew up in the same Illinois town and were best friends
Axel Acosta, 21
Edgar Acosta on Monday held a press conference with Texas attorney Tony Buzbee to announce he was suing over the death of his son Axel Acosta, who had traveled from Washington to attend the festival – his first concert.
Axel Acosta, 21
‘They need to make things change in these type of events,’ he said.
‘Today it was me. I lost my son. It could’ve been you,’ Acosta said.
‘When you send your kid to have some fun, because somebody else is not providing the right… I don’t know I can explain. The right security.
‘Because it is not the first time that he has been in big events, right?
‘You can go to Disneyland and have fun. You can go to a baseball game and have fun. Because they have the right security, the right people, some people assisting those injured.
‘It’s hard to explain.’
Rodolfo ‘Rudy’ Peña, 23
Peña, from Laredo, Texas, died of cardiac arrest after being injured at the show.
He was a medical assistant and criminal justice major with aspirations to become a model and dreamed of one day being a US Border Patrol agent.
‘What happened this past weekend is a direct result of what happens when the pursuit of financial gain and fame take precedence over protecting the lives of the innocent,’ said Almaraz Law Firm, representing the Peñas, in a statement.
‘It is a testament to the current state of live events and the greed that runs rampant in this industry.
‘Nobody should feel unsafe enjoying something they love, and unfortunately this is exactly what has transpired.
‘We vow to work diligently and responsibly to bring justice to the Peña family and to all afflicted, and we will not rest until these voices have been heard loud and clear.
‘We will hold responsible parties accountable and fight to ensure that something positive comes of this unmitigated disaster. Something must change. Something will change.’
Rodolfo ‘Rudy’ Peña, 23
Madison Dubiski, 23
Madison Dubiski of Cypress, Texas, was the eighth victim to be identified on Monday.
The former Ole Miss student was yanked from her brother Ty, who tried to pull her to safety, in the surge and disappeared in the crowd.
Dubiski studied at the University of Mississippi between 2016 and 2017 and worked in advertising and marketing. She went to Cy-Fair High School, where she was a Varsity cheerleader and member of National Charity League, a community service organization for mothers and their daughters in middle and high school.
Friends said that her mother Michelle was her best friend and that she was very close with Ty, who graduated from Cy-Fair in 2019.
Madison Dubiski, 23
Danish Baig, 27
Basil Mirza Baig took to Facebook Saturday announcing that his brother, Danish Baig also died at Astroworld.
‘My brother was killed in this horrendous event that was managed poorly and supervised by such horrible people,’ Baig wrote.
‘People were trampled, walked and stomped on. My brother tried to save my sister-in-law from these horrendous acts that were being done to her in the process he lost his life.’
Baig described Danish as a beautiful soul who put everyone before himself.
‘Last night he showed his courageous act to save my sister-in-law from those horrendous things that were being done. I am lost of words and in true trauma from this event,’ he added.
‘I was there and I wasn’t able to save my brother. People were hitting pushing and shoving and did not care for anyone’s life.’
Baig also accused the rapper of provoking the chaos by ‘calling people to the stage to jump into the crowd’ and for ‘not stopping the show’.
‘This is not the end,’ Baig warned. ‘My family and I will go to the full extent to make sure he is brought to justice.’
Danish Baig, 27