A ninth person, a 22-year-old woman, has died from injuries sustained during Travis Scott's Astroworld festival.
The family of Bharti Shahani, a senior at Texas A&M University, announced on Thursday, Nov. 11, that she had passed away the night before after being hospitalized following Saturday's concert. Police and fire department officials had previously said eight people, including one as young as 14, had died and more than 300 were injured after a packed crowd surged toward the stage at NRG Park in the rapper's hometown of Houston.
Bharti attended the concert with her sister, Namrata Shahani, and her cousin Mohit Bellani. They got separated amid the chaos.
"She was always looking out for me," a sobbing Namrata said about Bharti at a news conference Thursday. "The last thing she said to me was, 'Are you OK?'"
Their parents also spoke at the news conference. "Bharti is my baby," said their mother, Karishma Shahani. "How can I live without her? I want my baby back, please."
Mohit said he was at the family's home and saw their dog, Blue, wandering around looking for Bharti. "He lost his mom," he said. "Bharti was his mom. He's still looking for her all around the house."
Travis has said on social media he was "absolutely devastated" by the tragedy and that he is working to help the affected families.
On Thursday, his team released a new statement saying, "Over the last week, Travis Scott and his team have been actively exploring routes of connection with each and every family affected by the tragedy through the appropriate liaisons. He is distraught by the situation and desperately wishes to share his condolences and provide aid to them as soon as possible, but wants to remain respectful of each family's wishes on how they'd best like to be connected." The statement also provided an email address that affected families could contact to reach the rapper's team.
Travis faces growing criticism for not stopping the show sooner and he and organizers have already been sued by multiple people. On Wednesday afternoon, hours before Bharti succumbed to her injuries, her family's attorney released a statement saying they had retained him to represent them "in their effort to hold responsible those whose negligence caused Ms. Shahani's grave injuries."
"The Astroworld Festival disaster has devastated the Shahani family and many others," lawyer James Lassiter said. "We stand with them in their fight to win justice for Bharti, and to ensure that no other family ever has to endure such a senseless and preventable loss."
At the news conference Thursday, the attorney said, "No one has reached out to us on behalf of any of the parties involved and the disaster that was November 5th." Travis' team and festival organizers have not responded directly to the lawyer's comments publicly.
Travis' girlfriend Kylie Jenner, who is pregnant with their second child, attended the concert with their 3-year-old, Stormi Webster, and shared videos from the show as it took place, including one showing an ambulance cart in the crowd. She said in an Instagram Story statement afterward that both she and Travis "weren't aware of any fatalities until the news came out after the show and in no world would have continued filming or performing."
Travis' lawyer, Edwin F. McPherson, also said in a statement Thursday, "There has been multiple finger-pointing, much of which has been by city officials, who have sent inconsistent messages and have backtracked from original statements."
The New York Times reported that promoter Live Nation stopped the concert roughly 30 minutes earlier than planned and 40 minutes after city officials said the "mass casualty event" had begun. In his statement, Travis' lawyer pointed to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner's comments to the newspaper that "you cannot just close when you got 50,000 and over 50,000 individuals. We have to worry about rioting, riots, when you have a group that's that young."
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña told The New York Times that Travis and the festival organizers could have stepped in and paused the show, saying, "The one person who can really call for and get a tactical pause when something goes wrong is that performer. They have that bully pulpit and they have a responsibility." He told NBC's Today on Tuesday, Nov. 9, that while an investigation is ongoing into what caused the deadly crowd surge, he believes Travis "absolutely" could have played a role in stopping it.
A 56-page operations plan for Astroworld, obtained by CNN on Monday, didn't include a specific contingency for a surging crowd incident, despite three people being trampled and hospitalized at the same festival in 2019. However, it did state that in case of an incident, the executive producer and the festival director would be the only individuals with the authority to stop the concert, according to the news outlet.
"It was reported that the Operations Plan designated that only the festival director and executive producers have authority to stop the show, neither of which is part of Travis's crew," the rapper's attorney said in his statement.
He continued, "Investigations should start proceeding over finger-pointing so that together, we can identify exactly what transpired and how we can prevent anything like this from happening again."