Astroworld Festival stampede: Boy, 9, remains in medically induced coma as concert death toll rises

HOUSTON — A 9-year-old boy remains in a medically induced coma days after he and several others were injured in a stampede at the Astroworld Festival in Houston.

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Family members confirmed to KTRK that Ezra Blount, 9, attended the high-octane concert at NRG Park with his father, at one point riding on his father’s shoulders in order to stay above the surging crowd.

As the scene became more chaotic, however, Ezra’s father lost consciousness and fell, causing the child to fall and be trampled in the crowd, the TV station reported.

The death toll from Friday’s crowd crush rose Thursday to nine after an attorney representing the family of 22-year-old Bharti Shahani confirmed that she had died after being injured in the chaos.

>> Related: Astroworld Festival stampede: 22-year-old critically injured at concert dies; death toll rises to 9

Update 3:10 p.m. Nov. 11: In a video shared Wednesday by KHOU, attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Ezra’s family, said that the 9-year-old had “severe brain damage, severe kidney damage (and) severe liver damage.”

“It’s going to take a miracle,” he said.

Ezra’s family filed suit Monday against Scoremore Management, Live Nation Entertainment, Travis Scott, Cactus Jack Records and others alleging negligence. Attorneys for Ezra argued that the show should have been stopped long before it was.

“Concerts and music festivals such as this are meant to be a safe place for people of all ages to enjoy music in a controlled environment. None of that was true about the Astroworld Festival,” Crump said in a statement. “This little boy is currently fighting for his life, and his parents will never know the same child they entered Astroworld with.”

Alex Hilliard, another attorney representing Ezra’s family, said organizers have a “duty and responsibility to protect their patrons and control the crowd when it gets out of control.”

“It is outrageous that it took as long as it did to stop the show, as many of these deaths and injuries likely could have been prevented or mitigated,” he said.”

Original report: Eight people died in the stampede, but medical examiners have not released official causes of death for any of the fatalities.

>> Related: Astroworld Festival stampede: What we know about the 8 victims

By the time family members found Ezra at an area hospital he had suffered major organ damage and severe brain damage, leaving him comatose, KTRK reported.

“How could this happen in the city of Houston? You know, when we go to concerts and different events we expect safety and security,” the child’s grandfather told the TV station.

Family members told KPRC-TV on Monday night that Ezra remains in a “weakened state” after suffering injuries to his lungs and liver, as well as continued brain swelling.

Meanwhile, Bharti Shahani, the Texas A&M senior studying computer programming, attended the concert with her sister and cousin, but the trio were separated during the fatal crowd surge.

Her family is refusing to give up hope. "I request all of Houston to pray for her. Maybe the prayers might work as a miracle for her."

Posted by ABC13 Houston on Monday, November 8, 2021

“Once one person fell, people started toppling like dominos. It was like a sinkhole. People were falling on top of each other,” Mohit Bellani, Shahani’s cousin, told KTRK. “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.”

According to the TV station, first responders performed CPR on Shahani during transport to an area hospital, but it was hours before family members found her at Houston Methodist Hospital.

“They took us to her room, and she was bleeding and on a ventilator. Me and my wife were too shocked. We can’t even stand in there,” her father, Sunny Shahani, said.

According to family members, Bharti suffered multiple heart attacks throughout the ordeal and remained in the intensive care unit on a ventilator Monday night, KTRK reported.

“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,” Sunny Shahani told the TV station.

“I request all of Houston to pray for her. Maybe the prayers might work as a miracle for her,” he added.