Astroworld Festival Attendees Feared Dying amid Concert Chaos: 'I Seriously Could Not Breathe'
One attendee recalls the atmosphere at NRG Park in Houston prior to the rapper's performance, telling PEOPLE, "Before Travis came out, I could see there was a bottle war in the GA (general admission) section, people throwing bottles, throwing paper towels."
"Then, the same thing started happening in VIP — people are throwing liquid. It's getting scary," she continues. "People are being tossed and thrown and some people were getting escorted out, but I couldn't even tell if it was security escorting people out."
She explains that the situation became even more terrifying once Scott, 29, took the stage.
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"When Travis finally comes out, people are moving even more, getting rowdier," she tells PEOPLE. "It just felt like so much pressure as people got excited … I was literally getting squished, very uncomfortable. It felt like I was going to die."
"I couldn't enjoy it because I seriously could not breathe," she adds. "I had to turn away from the stage at points to just breathe. My shoulders were in people's back, I was pressed against people."
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Another concert attendee, 20-year-old David McGilver of Houston, shares similar frightening memories of Friday's event.
"As Travis walked out, everyone just started getting knocked over one by one," he tells PEOPLE. "We just started falling down to the ground. As I'm falling I can see the security guard, but he was just there by himself. I felt like there was just not a lot of help."
He adds, "Once I fell to the ground, more people started stacking up on me and I was already on top of people too. At least 10 people were underneath me."
On Saturday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner confirmed at a news conference that eight people died in the mass casualty event.
Among the dead are a 14-year-old, a 16-year-old and a 27-year-old. Two victims were 21 and two others were 23. Another victim's age has not been identified. Turner said of the 25 people initially transported to the hospital, 13 remain hospitalized.
McGilver, who sustained a sprained ankle as well as bruises to his leg and ribs, says he was upset that Scott's performance continued despite the mayhem in the audience.
"I remember me being on the ground and the music stopping and I could hear him say, 'Y'all know what y'all came here for?' And you can hear everybody screaming out for help," McGilver says. "And then the music just plays back again. I just don't understand how you can hear everyone screaming out for help and not stop the show at all."
He continues, "It was very scary because I've never heard people like screaming out for their moms, screaming out for cops like that. I've never just been in that type of environment where people the same age as me or older were just terrified. I was terrified myself because I couldn't breathe."
"I honestly did think I was going to die," McGilver adds. "I lost all hope really. I just had no more fight in me. After a while, I just settled down and I was like, 'Whatever happens, happens.' I was too exhausted to even fight to get back up."
A source close to Scott tells PEOPLE the rapper was unaware of the magnitude of the situation. "The lights were shining in his eyes and he couldn't see what was happening," says the source. "He thought someone had just passed out, which happens during concerts."
In a statement shared on Saturday, Scott said he was "absolutely devastated" by the events that took place.
"My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival," the rapper posted on Twitter. "Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life."
He continued, "I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need. Thank you to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their immediate response and support."
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