All 10 Astroworld Victims Died of ‘Compression Asphyxia,’ According to Medical Examiner

Astroworld Travis Scott

All 10 of the victims at Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert died from compression asphyxia, according to a report from the medical examiner.

One victim is cited as having a contributory cause of “combined toxic effects of cocaine, methamphetamine and ethanol,” but the primarily cause for all of the victims was essentially being suffocated by external pressure — technically defined as “respiration prevented by external pressure on the body.” The report was issued Thursday by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston.

While initial reports speculated that at least some of the victims had died of drug-related causes, with the exception of the one case of contributory causes, that appears to be inaccurate.

The 10 victims died, and hundreds were injured, after segments of the 50,000-strong crowd surged during Scott’s headlining set at the concert, which was held at Houston’s NRG Park on Nov. 5.

According to a report in the Washington Post, at least seven of the 10 victims were clustered in a small area enclosed on three sides by metal barriers that became dangerously crowded. The Post found that most of those who died were close to each other in the viewing area’s south quadrant, where witnesses described people collapsing under the pressure of the crowd.

The victims who died included a dancer, an aspiring border agent, a student athlete, a computer programming student, a district manager at AT&T, a marketer, a pair of best friends and a nine-year-old boy. Their names are Mirza Baig, 27; Rodolfo Pena, 23; Madison Dubiski, 23; Bharti Shahani, 22; Axel Avila, 21; Franco Patino, 21; Jacob Jurinek, 20; Brianna Rodriguez, 16; John Hilgert, 14; and Ezra Blount, 9.

In a related development, Scott has teamed with the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), a non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more, on an initiative to ensure future festival safety.

The agreement, obtained by Variety, brings together key stakeholders from government, public safety, emergency response, health care, event management, music and technology to identify weak points and introduce new solutions to ensure a tragedy like Astroworld does not happen again.

“This mass tragedy reinforced the serious issue of festival safety and security,” reads the agreement. “As festivals with large crowd sizes continue to enjoy popularity, organizers, city officials and other stakeholders must have a clear understanding about best practices, current vulnerabilities, and access to the most innovative technology to ensure every festival is as safe as possible.”

The analysis and report will be led by Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, UCSM’s vice president and chair of the conference’s Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Committee. Other UCSM contingents that will participate in the initiative include the Criminal and Social Justice Committee and the Mayors and Police Chiefs Task Force.

According to the report, stakeholders and outside experts will meet frequently between January and June of 2022. The UCSM will announce the initiative at the 2022 USCM Winter Meeting in Washington D.C., taking place from Jan. 19 to 21. The final report and recommendations of the coalition will be released publicly and discussed during a USCM webinar, as well as distributed to 1400 cities, key entertainment industry figures and other stakeholders.

In an interview with Charlamagne tha God last week, Scott denied witnessing any distress that would have caused him to stop the concert while on stage. The rapper said that from his point of view, the combination of music, lights, pyro and other elements makes it difficult for him to discern what’s going on in the crowd, or to distinguish between fans facing danger versus enjoying the show.

On Dec. 11, Variety reported that Scott had been effectively removed from the lineup for the 2022 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where he was scheduled to headline.