Videos and pictures in this story are graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.
HOUSTON (NewsNation Now) — A 16-year-old concertgoer managed to escape the surging crowd at the Astroworld festival and managed to pull others to safety during the chaos that left eight people dead and dozens injured.
Dylan Nelson went to Astroworld to see Travis Scott and said he was prepared for a “crazy” concert based on what he had heard about previous Scott concerts. He said his group got to the stage Scott was set to perform at three hours early to get a spot near the back. As a timer clicked down to the start of Scott’s performance, the crowd pushed forward.
“As soon as Travis came on, it just got really, really crowded,” Dylan said. “And we were all just like arm to arm.”
Dylan said people quickly became squished together, so his group decided to move more toward the back barriers. Dylan saw people jumping the barriers to escape the surging crowd and said security wasn’t helping people get out of the way.
“Honestly, from what I saw, security wasn’t doing their job. Security was kind of just watching,” Dylan said. “I mean, they were helping here and there. But just regular people were just helping each other out and just getting them over.”
Once Dylan got over the back gates, he decided to take action.
“When I got over the back gates, I was just like, I need to start doing something. And I went up to the front …” Dylan said in part. “So I was able to help a little bit. But there are so many people you’re just picking them up, pulling them over, picking them up, pulling over. And it’s pretty hard because there’s people smashing backwards too.”
Dylan said he watched about five people get carried out of the concert unconscious while trying to help people escape.
“I saw a security guard just standing there watching everyone. He wasn’t even doing anything,” Dylan said. “He was just standing there watching, you could clearly hear everyone just screaming, everyone screaming help. Everyone’s just like, everyone should just totally like freaking out and they’re just standing there.”
This comes as the FBI joined the criminal investigation into what caused the pandemonium at the sold-out festival. Investigators are expected to examine the design of safety barriers and the use of crowd control in determining what led to the deaths and injuries.
“I don’t think the crowd layout was really made that well, because they had it in like three different sections,” said Dylan. “The only way to get out was like to the left or to the right. And with the amount of people, you just weren’t gonna get out unless you got pulled over the gates.”
The Houston Police Department said they noticed people in the crowd “going down” at 9:30 p.m. and immediately notified concert organizers.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner has defended how long it took for the concert to be called off after the first signs of trouble. It was called off 40 minutes later after discussions that included the fire department and NRG Park officials.
“There were just too many people in the crowd,” Dylan said. “It was just too many. So no matter where you were, you were pretty much just you were getting crushed.”
Finner said authorities are investigating reports of possible druggings at the music festival. He acknowledged that rumors are spreading on social media of people getting drugged through “spiking.”
Finner said a security guard told police that he felt a prick in his neck during the chaos at the concert and lost consciousness while being examined by first responders. He was revived by the opioid antidote Narcan.
Dylan spoke with NewsNation’s Adrienne Bankert on “Morning in America.” You can watch the full interview in the player above.