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Lake Charles resident describes tragic scene at Astroworld Festival

Avid festival attendee made an ‘escape plan’ before the concert because they knew it may get dangerous
A lawsuit has now been filed against the rapper, the companies that organized the event, and...
A lawsuit has now been filed against the rapper, the companies that organized the event, and others; claiming they put profits over safety.
Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 6:56 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A concert turned into a tragedy this weekend in Houston. Two days after a tragedy claimed the lives of at least eight Astroworld concertgoers and injured several others, the first lawsuit has been filed against rapper Travis Scott and concert organizer Live Nation Entertainment.

The crowd of at least 50,000 were packed tightly as headliner Travis Scott began his set, with many crushed and trampled as waves of people moved toward the stage.

Officials say Scott continued to play for about 30 minutes after the concert was declared a mass casualty event, and they’re investigating what he knew, and when. In a statement, Scott said he stopped his show, “any time” he realized a problem.

A lawsuit has now been filed against the rapper, the companies that organized the event, and others; claiming they put profits over safety.

One Lake Area resident was at the concert as it turned to chaos.

Samuel Chandler and his friends made an “escape plan” before the concert, knowing things could get dangerous but never expecting what happened.

“They’re crushing these two groups of people in this one spot, making them suffer, making them pack into sardines,” Chandler said as he described this year’s Astroworld Festival. “I don’t know what to call this box, but now, I guess we can call it like a death box because that’s what people were getting stuck in.”

Chandler is a frequent festival attendee and says he knew to expect some pushing and crowding, but he never expected people to be trampled to death.

Travis Scott concerts have a history of becoming unruly, even being accused of inciting a riot in 2017.

Chandler knew the crowds often become frenzied but says at another Travis concert just the week before, the set-up was much different.

“Astroworld, you couldn’t breathe really. You were just packed in there,” Chandler said.

He said at the previous concert, the stage was set up in a large parking lot with multiple exit routes for people to easily and safely get to an open area if needed. He adds that there was also easier access to medical tents for anybody who was feeling ill or overwhelmed.

Chandler said people at the Astroworld Festival in Houston started passing out and piling up on top of each other.

“If you’re on that bottom layer, it’s pretty tough to breathe in any situation like that,” Chandler said. “So, I can definitely see how people couldn’t make it out alive from that.”

Chandler said the only way to get out of the crowd was to go up. He said at points, he was standing on his toes looking straight into the sky - doing what he could to gasp fresh air.

Some concertgoers would even try to lift others over their heads and to the medical tents.

Chandler emphasized how important it is in a setting like that to help others out and said that was missing during this tragedy. He said many people were stuck on the ground without help from others.

“Constantly, you’re stepping on shoes, on shirts, on hoodies all the time. So, you don’t know what you could be stepping on until you look down and you realize it could be a body,” Chandler said.

There are also videos circling social media of concertgoers jumping onto medical carts and ambulances as they try to get through the crowd to help those being trampled.

Chandler’s mother said she is just happy that her son made it out alive.

“He knows what to do and how to get himself out of a situation,” Jenny LaRocca said. “I’ve always told him if you don’t feel safe in anything, back away. It’s not worth your life.”

She said as soon as she heard the news of the tragedy, she began praying for the parents who lost their children and the people affected by the deaths.

There is still not a clear answer as to exactly what caused the deaths and injuries, but police are investigating. The FBI also recently joined in on the investigation into the deaths.

The mayor of Houston said the investigation could take weeks or even longer.

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