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Astroworld victims died of compression asphyxia, says medical examiner

The Harris County Medical Examiner's report said all ten deaths were accidental

By Joe Goggins

Travis Scott Performing Live
Travis Scott was headlining his own Astroworld Festival when the tragedy occurred. (Photo: Gonzales Lasse Lagoni/Alamy)

Compression asphyxia caused the deaths of ten people who died in a crush at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival, the Harris County Medical Examiner has ruled.

According to the report, released yesterday (December 16), all of the deaths were accidental. Only one of the ten was found to have other contributing factors, namely “combined toxic effects of cocaine, methamphetamine and ethanol”.

The victims were aged between nine and 27. A further 300 people were injured, with 25 going on to be hospitalised, after the 50,000-strong crowd surged during Scott’s headline set at NRG Park in his native Houston, Texas, causing barricades to trap attendees on three sides.

Scott has been widely criticised in the weeks since the disaster. To date, the rapper has been named in almost 2,800 lawsuits seeking restitution for those injured. Mobile phone footage from the festival appeared to show Scott continuing with his set even as fans were clambering onto the stage to warn him of the unfolding crush.

Earlier this month, Scott sat down with Charlamagne the God for his first interview since the tragedy. Asked if he felt culpable for the deaths, he said only that he had a “responsibility to figure out what happened”.

The interview was condemned by a number of the victims’ families. Tony Buzbee, a layer for the family of Axel Acosta, who was among the dead, said: “What he’s doing now is just causing people more pain.”

Last Saturday (December 11), Variety reported that he had effectively been dropped as a headliner from the California bash’s 2022 lineup, having initially been scheduled to top the bill in 2020, before its enforced cancellation by COVID-19. Sources quoted by Variety said that the festival had cancelled Scott’s set, even despite rumours that he had offered to play for free. Scott also saw an offer to pay for the funeral costs of the ten victims angrily rebuffed by their families.