The Astroworld tragedy: How to avoid getting crushed in a crowd

The recent tragedy at Astroworld is one of the deadliest crowd control disasters in the U.S. in recent decades. On November 6th, 10 people were killed and dozens more were hospitalized, as a large crowd began pushing toward the stage during a performance by Houston hip hop artist Travis Scott.

Astroworld concert stage with pyrotechnics

Photo credit: Yahoo! News

The Houston Fire Department reported that about 50,000 concert-goers were in attendance. Multiple witnesses have reported that the scene was chaotic from the beginning, with people pushing towards the front of the stage, fights breaking out and a “mob mentality” in general. Many victims have spoken to the press about the horrors they witnessed.

What caused the chaos?

The chaos is reminiscent of another mass casualty event – at a Who concert in 1979, where 11 people were crushed as people rushed to the stage. An investigation into the Astroworld event is currently underway. One factor that investigators are looking into, is whether security was adequate. The mayor of Houston confirmed that 505 event security staff members were present, as well as 91 armed private security officers, and 76 officers from the Houston Police Department.

Memorial outside Astroworld

Photo credit: AZ Central

It should be noted that this isn’t the first problematic show involving Travis Scott; specifically that he had done certain things to incite the crowd. In 2015, Scott pleaded guilty to reckless conduct charges when he encouraged fans to climb over security barricades and join him on stage. This took place at a Lollapalooza concert in Chicago.

Two years later, Scott was sued by a fan who was pushed off of a balcony and dragged to the stage, as that fan is now permanently paralyzed.

Attendees at Astroworld revealed that the show continued, though the artists noted the ambulance in the crowd. In fact, Scott urged the surging crowd to “make the ground shake.” In addition, video evidence shows that the crew did not act after being alerted to an emergency in the crowd.

crowded concert with falling confetti

How can I avoid getting crushed at a concert?

Keep your eyes open

If you sense there might be danger, keep an eye on areas where the crowd is thinned out, and move through those spaces until you feel safe from the possibility of being in the crush of a crowd.

Leave while you can

The longer you stay, the harder it will be for you to escape. By leaving a congested area, you not only keep yourself safe, but you make the area a little roomier for the people in the crowd you left behind.

crowded outdoor concert

Stay upright

If it’s too late to exit, do all you can to remain standing. When a crowd is crushed, one person falling can create a domino effect. The weight of other bodies will pin you to the ground before you have a chance to right yourself.

Save your breath

Your most precious resource is oxygen. Control your breathing and do not waste your breath by screaming, as a crowded concert is not the easiest place to be heard.

Get your arms up

Keep your arms at chest level, in a boxer’s stance. This gives you an extra bit of space, protects your ribcage, and gives a little extra space around your lungs so that you can breathe.

Go with the flow

Don’t waste your precious energy by pushing back when a crowd lurches you in any direction. Go where you are pushed and do your very best to remain upright.

Avoid structural items

Oftentimes, people end up getting pinned against barriers, pillars and walls, unable to breathe. Avoid these areas so that there is a flow around you, and an ability to move in any direction.

Understand crowd density

It’s all about the people per square meter. Under three people per square meter means you likely aren’t touching anyone, and all is well. If you are accidentally bumping into people around you, then it may be four to five people per square meter, so move away from the center of the congestion. If you can’t move your hands to touch your face, the danger is present and you must do what you can to leave the situation.

Help one another

It’s hard to stay calm when others are panicking, but do what you can to remain calm and help others if possible. Alert authorities, help carry someone out, call 911, pass out water bottles – whatever the situation calls for. Kindness can be contagious, and in certain situations, life-saving.

The above tips can make a difference between life or death in a crowded concert situation. As the investigation into Astroworld unfolds, it is my hope we can employ new strategies, and if needed, legislation, to avoid mass casualty events in the future.

If you or a loved one have been injured at such an event through no fault of your own, call an attorney at once. The experienced attorneys at Allen & Allen offer free consultations and can help us determine if we’re able to help with your unique experience. Call today, at 866-388-1307.