Live updates: Deadly Astroworld crowd surge


Traffic passes by a sign announcing the cancellation of Astroworld on Saturday, November 6, in Houston.
Traffic passes by a sign announcing the cancellation of Astroworld on Saturday, November 6, in Houston. (Michael Wyke/AP)

A detailed operations plan for the Astroworld music festival in Houston did not include a specific contingency for a surging crowd incident despite three people being trampled and hospitalized at the same festival in 2019.

In a 56-page document obtained by CNN, concert organizers addressed broad concerns about the sold-out, two-day event headlined by rapper Travis Scott.

“Based on the site’s layout and numerous past experiences, a Security Plan has been established to help mitigate potential negative issues within the scope of the festival,” the document states. “The potential for multiple alcohol/drug related incidents, possible evacuation needs, and the ever-present threat of a mass casualty situation are identified as key concerns.”

Among the scenarios addressed in the plan are incidents involving an active shooter, severe weather, and a possible riot or civil unrest.

Addressing concerns of a large crowd, the plan outlines “the key in properly dealing with this type of scenario is proper management of the crowd from the minute the doors open.” And adds, “Crowd management techniques will be employed to identify potentially dangerous crowd behavior in its early stages in an effort to prevent a civil disturbance/riot.” Those techniques are not further specified in the plan.

In November 2019, three people were trampled and hospitalized as thousands rushed to get into the Astroworld Festival. They were all sent to the hospital with leg injuries, and the event continued as planned.

In another section, the plan details actions to be taken in case of an incident involving fatalities. According to the plan, concert organizers advise staff to notify Event Control using the code “smurf” for a suspected deceased victim. “Never use the term ‘dead’ or ‘deceased’ over the radio,” the plan states.

Furthermore, the plan lays out a clear chain of command in case of an incident, identifying the role of the executive producer as well as the festival director as the only individuals with the authority to stop the concert. 



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