EXPLAINER: Here Is Why Crowd Surges Can Kill People

The crowd watches as Travis Scott performs at Astroworld Festival at NRG park on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 in Houston. Several people died and numerous others were injured in what officials described as a surge of the crowd at the music festival while Scott was performing. Officials declared a “mass casualty incident” just after 9 p.m. Friday during the festival where an estimated 50,000 people were in attendance, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña told reporters at a news conference. (Jamaal Ellis/Houston Chronicle via AP)

(AP) — The crowd deaths at a Houston music festival have added to the long list of people who have been crushed at a major event. Such tragedies have been occurring around the world for a long time at concerts, sports events and religious gatherings.

Experts who have studied such deaths say they’re often a result of density, with too many people packed into too small a space. Often, the crowd is running away from a perceived threat or toward something they want before hitting a barrier. That leads to chests getting crushed and victims being unable to breathe.


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