“At one point my ribs were getting into the railing, basically impaled, and I was fearing for my life that I wasn’t gonna make it,” Espinoza said. A security guard helped him jump the gate, and he said there were “hundreds of bodies on the floor already from people passing out, falling over the railing.”
Eligio Garcia, 18, described how he and his girlfriend were caught up in a “whirlpool” of people at the start of Scott’s set.
“Just kids and people falling and people trying to reach up, like they’re reaching up for you,” he said. “I really heard people screaming like, ‘Help, please help me.'”
Garcia said he and his girlfriend were knocked over and others fell on top of them. Eventually they were able to get upright in the scrum, and he said cries for help throughout the crowd to staff or show officials at the end of each song went unanswered before another began.
“It’s a whole nightmare that just continues to play every night in my head,” he said.
Ayden Cruz, who was alongside his friend Brianna Rodriguez — one of the eight people who died — told CNN’s Anderson Cooper the two were around a “circle of people who had fallen behind us” and were the next to stumble.
“The ripple effects of the crowds going forward and backward, we were pushed onto our backs, and as that happened, people began to fall on top of us and cause it to be harder to get air and just so much weight on both of us,” Cruz said, adding another friend of theirs “fell as well on his back and people on top of us. It was really scary.”
Communication issues at concert
“We’re looking at the roles that everyone played, what missteps, failures, gaps that may have existed,” Turner said, adding they aren’t ruling anything out.
Peña told CNN Tuesday firefighters stationed outside the Astroworld venue were not in radio communication with the emergency medical providers hired by the concert organizers.
According to the president of the city’s firefighter union, Houston Fire officials on standby near the venue had asked concert organizers for a radio to communicate with the emergency medical provider company but were only provided with cellphone numbers.
Attendees after the concert have since stated they were unable to text or call due to poor cell service.
After learning of the crush, the fire department sent its resources into the crowd, saying eventually 12 “very critical” victims were transported, in many cases with CPR in progress.
Turner said Live Nation has turned over some video footage from the event to Houston police and they are hoping to get more as the criminal investigation moves forward.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is considering an outside law firm or other third party for the independent investigation into the tragedy, according to her spokesperson.
Paying tribute to those lost
“She was a really sweet girl and it’s just really sad what happened to her,” Barrera said. “This is the last thing that you would think would happen.”
Rusty Barber, who did not know the victims, yet wanted to pay his respects, shared with CNN his frustration with how Friday’s concert turned to tragedy and Scott’s set continued during the surge.
“It could have been stopped. They could have taken a 10-minute pause, 15-minute pause, and then they could have got it situated. And then the show could have went on and all these people wouldn’t have lost their lives,” Barber said.
CNN’s Rosa Flores, Victor Blackwell, Gustavo Valdés, Amir Vera, Kay Jones, Jennifer Henderson, Claudia Dominguez, Raja Razek, Jorge Venegas, Corey James and Alysha Martin contributed to this report.