Eight people have been killed and several others injured in a stampede at a music festival in Houston, Texas.
Distressing footage on social media shows paramedics performing CPR on several people on the floor within the crowd as a performance continued.
Authorities said the incident happened as concert-goers ‘began to compress’ to the front of the stage while rapper Travis Scott was performing, at around 9:15 (5:15 am East African Standard time ) .
Fire Chief Sam Peña said the rush caused some panic, and this started causing some injuries.
‘People began to fall out, become unconscious and it created additional panic,’ Peña said.
He described what unfolded as a ‘mass casualty’ incident, saying 17 patients were transported to local hospitals, 11 of whom were in cardiac arrest.
In addition, more than 300 people were treated at the field hospital set up near the festival.
Those injured included children ‘as young as 10’, authorities said.
The show was called off shortly after several people began suffering injuries, with tomorrow night’s performance also cancelled
The tragic scenes unfolded on the opening night of the third annual Astroworld music festival which was being held at NRG Park.
Video showed hundreds of people rushing through a VIP entrance to the event, knocking over metal detectors and ignoring security personnel before the gates were secured by officers on horseback.
No cause of death was given for the eight confirmed fatalities, pending the medical examiner’s investigation.
Police are working to identify the victims, wile people whose loved ones are missing were asked to go to the local Wyndham Hotel.
‘Nobody could dream of this… I think it’s important that no one speculates. We have none of the answers tonight,’ said Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the rapper stopped several times during his 75 minute set after spotting fans in distress near the front of the stage, and that he asked security to help people out of the crowd
footage circulating from the event shows fans trying to get the attention of production staff to make them aware that something was wrong.
Other videos appear to show fans jumping on security vehicles that were reportedly trying to get to unconscious people.
Mr Finner has asked for calm, saying that people should not jump to conclusions as to what may have caused the crowd surge.
He said: ‘I think it’s very important that none of us speculate. Nobody has all the answers tonight.
‘We’re going to do an investigation and find out because it’s not fair to the producers, to anybody else involved, until we determine what happened, what caused the surge. We don’t know, but we will find out.’