22-year-old Bharti Shahani, a student at Texas A&M University, has been declared brain dead after suffering injuries in the crowd surge at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival last week.
The Indian origin student, her cousin Mohit Bellani, and sister Namrata Shahani had attended the concert together but got lost when the crowds began to surge towards the stage. They lost their phones and were unable to locate each other.
“Once one person fell, people started toppling like dominos. It was like a sinkhole. People were falling on top of each other. There were like layers of bodies on the ground, like two people thick. We were fighting to come up to the top and breathe to stay alive,” Mohit has been quoted as saying.
He explained that Bharti lost oxygen for several minutes. She was given CPR on the way to Houston Methodist Hospital and her family has said she suffered multiple heart attacks.
Bharti is the latest victim from the Astroworld Festival tragedy that has taken eight lives (including a 10-year-old) and injured more than 300 people. She was a student of electronics systems engineering and was set to graduate in the spring.
More than 50,000 fans had gathered during Scott’s performance at the festival outside NRG Park on 5 November. Investigators continue to review video from the scene to look at how the venue was laid out and whether it had enough exit points so as to explore “what caused, one, the issue of the crowd surge, and two, what prevented people from being able to escape that situation,” said Chief of the Houston Fire Department, Samuel Pena.
“The crowd began to compress towards the front of the stage and that caused some panic and it started causing some injuries,” Pena told a press briefing.
Bharti’s father Sunny Shahani admitted that her chances of survival were slim.
“The doctors, they say the chances of survival are nothing, which I have not even spoken to my wife until now. We keep saying we’ll pray. I request all of Houston to pray for her. Maybe the prayers might work as a miracle for her,” he said.
“She was the head of the family, she was a very nice girl. Always calm, always listened. She had a bright future. Only thing I’ll request, to the Houstonians, to please, please make sure that she gets justice. And I don’t want somebody else’s daughter to go like this.”
The family had started a GoFundMe page for Bharti’s medical treatment that has raised over $72,000 in two days.
More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed so far against Scott and several companies, including entertainment giant Live Nation and concert promoter ScoreMore. The rapper has been accused of inciting violence at his concerts, with one lawsuit including a screenshot of a tweet on Scott’s Twitter account in which, allegedly in response to a complaint about the festival’s quick sellout, he wrote: “NAW AND WE STILL SNEAKING THE WILD ONES IN,” a comment that had nearly 100,000 likes at the time it was captured.
— TRAVIS SCOTT (@trvisXX) November 6, 2021