All 10 people who died in the crowd at last month’s Astroworld Festival in Houston perished from compression asphyxia, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science concluded in a report Thursday.
Compression asphyxia happens when external pressure prevents a person from breathing, as in the crushing environment of the crowd that night.
In one additional death, the coroner’s report said that cocaine, methamphetamine and ethanol also played a contributing role. All 10 deaths are being considered accidental.
The victims range in age from 9 to 27 and include a 14-year-old high school student; a 16-year-old girl who loved dancing; and 9-year-old Ezra Blount, whose father hoisted him onto his shoulders in a desperate bid to keep him above the fray but then passed out and was unable to protect his son.
“My son couldn’t breathe because of all the pressure that was being applied to him, and he passed out,” Blount’s grandfather, Bernon Blount, told reporters. “And when he passed out, Ezra fell into the crowd.”
Upwards of 125 people have joined a lawsuit against musicians Travis Scott and Drake, both of whom appeared onstage as the crowd surged and, the lawsuit alleges, were far too slow to react. A criminal investigation is also underway.
Scott said shortly after the event that he was “absolutely devastated by what took place” and offered to cover the victims’ funeral costs. Several families pointedly declined the offer, however.
An attorney for the family of 27-year-old Mirza “Danish” Baig criticized the offer as a public relations ploy by Scott to “soften people up” in the court of public opinion.