HOUSTON, Texas — Panic, fistfights and jam-packed crowds are just some of the chaotic scenes that unfolded at the deadly Astroworld Festival Friday night. Among the 50,000 people who attended were several with ties to Lubbock.
Texas Tech senior Reagan Ranzer went to Houston for the concert and described the claustrophobic conditions as people in the crowd pushed and pulled against each other.
“I’m like short, all these people are taller than me, so I couldn’t breathe at one point. I was like, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, and I told my brother [who was next to me]. I was pointing, I can’t breathe, and he was like, ‘I can’t hear you,'” Ranzer said.
Ranzer said she had been looking forward to Astroworld for months and was shocked by the sudden, violent crowd surge. She saw a number of people faint, and their limp bodies were dragged out of the crowd.
“You could see people just dropping like flies,” Ranzer said.
But things really escalated when rapper Travis Scott took the stage.
“I just saw like an overwhelming rush of people going toward the stage. People were running … It just seemed suffocating from the get-go,” said Juhi Vyas, who attended the concert.
“My friend tried to give CPR to a woman who was unconscious on the ground, and she couldn’t because people were literally running over them,” said Tech grad Casey Buscher, who attended the concert with Vyas.
Both Vyas and Buscher have been to several Travis Scott concerts. They said his fans typically get rowdy, but they’ve never seen anything remotely like this. The experience has left them — and many others — haunted.
“I feel this insane guilt that I was in this scenario and made it out alive and wasn’t hurt … Knowing that people died is insane,” Buscher said with emotion in her voice.
“I felt sick to my stomach,” Vyas said.
All three women said they didn’t learn that people had died at the concert until well after it was over.
But even in the chaos in the aftermath, there was an act of kindness — as one of Buscher’s friends stumbled upon a phone that belonged to one of the victims.
“[My friend] lost her phone, and she picked up a bunch of phones off the ground hoping one was hers … and she found the phone of the 16-year-old girl who died. She met up with the mom the next day — [my friend] gave her the phone, and [the mom] was like this is the last thing I have of my daughter,” Buscher said.