Travis Scott speaks after 8 died at Houston’s Astroworld concert

U.S. rap star Travis Scott broke his silence Saturday about 12 hours after eight fans died in a stampede at his Astroworld festival in Houston on Friday night.

Scores of others were injured.

Scott broke his silence on Twitter, saying he was absolutely devastated by the disaster.

He said he would support the police as they investigate, and wanted to help the community heal.

“My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival,” Scott wrote . “Love You All.”

The tragedy happened as panic rippled through the packed crowd, officials said on Saturday.

The disaster unfolded at NRG Park at around 9 p.m. on Friday during the headline performance by Scott, a Grammy-nominated singer and producer, following an escalation of unruly behaviour reported by members of the crowd and police.

As some in the sold-out audience of about 50,000 surged toward the stage, people began to fall unconscious, some apparently suffering cardiac arrest or other medical issues, officials told reporters outside the venue.

Minutes later the chaos was declared a “mass casualty incident.”

“It happened all at once. It seemed like it just happened … over the course of just a few minutes,” said Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite, who was at the front of the event when the situation began.

Satterwhite said he immediately met with promoters and they agreed to halt the show “in the interest of public safety.”

Police Chief Troy Finner said investigators had yet to determine what triggered the deadly surge, but he said police were aware of “rumours of people injecting some people with drugs” in the crowd, “so I want to check all that out.”

Seventeen victims were taken by ambulance to hospitals after the crush began, 11 of whom were in cardiac arrest, according to city Fire Chief Samuel Peña.

But it was unclear whether that number included any of the eight confirmed fatalities.

He added that some 300 people were treated at an on-site “field hospital” for various injuries and illnesses suffered throughout the day unrelated to the deadly crowd surge, which he said left “scores” of people hurt.

One was 10 years old, Pena said.

After mobbing entrance gates and merchandise booths early in the day, the crowd grew increasingly unruly as performers took the stage, according to 19-year-old festival goer Hamad Al Barrak.

“There were just too many people,’ said Al Barrak, who described chaos as he tried to buy festival gear.

“We were all pressed together. You felt like you couldn’t breathe.”

Nick Johnson, 17, said he witnessed a steady rise of disruptive behavior before the stampede.

“It was going on for over two hours, and it just got worse and worse (until) you just can’t breathe,” he said.

An investigation was underway that is likely to focus on security and safety protocols at the event.

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