Astroworld Festival survivors demand accountability in ABC13 town hall

Tom Abrahams Image
Friday, November 12, 2021
Astroworld Festival Tragedy: ABC13 hosts town hall on investigation
The deadly scene at the Astroworld Festival raises many concerns. Tom Abrahams moderated a panel of experts, victims and colleagues as we continue to process what happened.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The deadly aftermath of Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival has left many people, like Brea Breaux and Timothy Le, struggling to understand.

"We still can't sleep at night," Breaux said. "Everything from the event keeps replaying in my mind."

"We want answers," Le said.

The pair were witnesses to the deadly chaos which unfolded last Friday night at NRG Park.

Astroworld Festival tragedy death toll rises to 9: 'This was a blood bath'

Thursday night, they joined Eyewitness News anchor Tom Abrahams for a town hall featuring leaders and experts, answering concerns about the mass casualty incident that cost nine concertgoers their lives and left more than 300 injured.

U.S. Rep. Al Green and rapper Bun B both urged viewers to await the facts out of respect for those grieving loved ones.

"It's too early to point fingers," Bun B said.

In his 30 years in music, the Houston hip-hop legend said he's never witnessed anything like what happened. But he added that people should be cautious when placing blame.

ABC13 legal analyst Steve Shellist agreed, but added an independent, impartial investigation will be necessary if survivors hope to really get to the bottom of what happened.

"This tragedy was avoidable. It didn't have to happen," Shellist said. "There needs to be accountability."

Did design play a factor in Astroworld deaths?

Breaux and Le told Eyewitness News that they've been to many concerts before, but everything changed moments after Scott took the stage.

About 30 seconds in, as people started jumping, Breaux said it became tighter than usual.

"I felt like people were starting to lose air," she said. "There were people saying they couldn't breathe."

With barricades surrounding them and panic setting in, Breaux said she and Le were left without an escape route and then became separated.

In the crowd, Le said he witnessed multiple unconscious people.

Eyewitness News reporter Roxie Bustamante said barricades keep coming up as she continues to hear from witnesses, who reported security guards were struggling to lift the injured on stretchers over the railings.

Reporter Mycah Hatfield said the festival's toll is difficult to comprehend.

"It's stunning, because a weapon wasn't involved," Hatfield said.

Dr. GK Still, a UK professor and crowd science expert, told ABC13 the layout of Astroworld Festival itself may have played a role in the deadly crowd surge.

"Design can have an impact," Still said. "There is a density."

When more bodies fill a space than can be accommodated, Still explained, the risk for trips, slips, falls and even asphyxia increases.

Still said investigators will need to look at the evidence to determine whether design and crowd density played a role in this case.

The legacy of Astroworld Festival 2021

Rep. Green told Eyewitness News he believed the fallout will result in changes to how concerts are staged across the country, but stopped short of mentioning any specific measures we could see.

"This is not just another incident," Green said. "People have lost their lives."

Immediately evident is the heartache left in the wake of this tragedy, for the families of the victims and those who survived the horror that unfolded at Astroworld Festival.

ABC13's Bustamante said she hopes those struggling to cope will seek help, and that she'll keep fighting for the victims.

RELATED: Where to find mental health resources in Greater Houston

"They were kids. Young people who were trying to have a good time, and they never came home," Bustamante said. "We will get answers for you."

You can watch the town hall on your favorite streaming devices, like Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Google TV. Just search "ABC13 Houston."