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'Severely Understaffed' Astroworld Security Had Code Word In Case Of Deaths

Tom Wood

| Last updated 

'Severely Understaffed' Astroworld Security Had Code Word In Case Of Deaths

A member of the security team at Travis Scott's Astroworld festival in Houston - at which eight people were killed in a crowd surge on Friday - has claimed that the event was 'severely understaffed'.

Furthermore, a lengthy document issued to security personnel before the show has revealed that there was a code word to be used in the event of suspected deaths at the event.

The 56-page event operations plan for the festival included instructions for many potential scenarios including active shooter situations, bomb scares, and terrorist threats, but did not include anything on crowd surges.

NRG Park in Houston. Credit: Alamy
NRG Park in Houston. Credit: Alamy

It read: "In any situation where large groups of people are gathering, there is the potential for a civil disturbance/riot that can present a grave risk to the safety and security of employees and guests,

"The key in properly dealing with this type of scenario is proper management of the crowd from the minute the doors open. Crowd management techniques will be employed to identify potentially dangerous crowd behavior in its early stages in an effort to prevent a civil disturbance/riot."

Elsewhere in the plan, staff were told to 'notify Event Control of a suspected deceased victim utilizing the code Smurf'.

It added: "Never use the term 'dead' or 'deceased' over the radio."

Despite the plan in place for security at the event, one of the security guards employed for the event admitted that he 'bailed' on the night of the show because it was 'severely understaffed'.

Darius Williams, hired by Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC) told TMZ he was put into 'security-type roles, which I didn't have any real training in' after a short training period that concluded at 11:00pm the night before the gig.

Tributes have been left outside the venue. Credit: Alamy
Tributes have been left outside the venue. Credit: Alamy

He added: "The training for that was extremely brief. It was an open-book test."

Williams said: "'The teacher - he was actually giving us the answers as we were going through the books ourselves and trying to hurry up and fill out the answers.

"This was the night before Astroworld and it was already approaching 11pm. We had been there for three or four hours. We were tired, we were hungry."

When he showed up, he said that he 'just knew that we were definitely understaffed in every sense of the word'.

He went on: "There was probably one security guard - from what I saw - for every 500 to 1,000.

"So I knew immediately if two people decided to rush the gate it was over with.

"So I just decided it would be best to just leave and just not work the festival altogether because I just had the feeling I would be in unsafe conditions'.

"I know that there were several other people that said they wanted to walk out and leave.

"I'm sure there are several others that were very unhappy with the entire situation."

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner also said in a statement that he visited the rapper and his team before the concert to 'voice concerns' about the crowd.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner. Credit: Alamy
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner. Credit: Alamy

Finner said: "I met with Travis Scott and his head of security for a few moments last Friday prior to the main event.

"I expressed my concerns regarding public safety and that in my 31 years of law enforcement experience I have never seen a time with more challenges facing citizens of all ages, to include a global pandemic and social tension throughout the nation.

"I asked Travis Scott and his team to work with HPD for all events over the weekend and to be mindful of his team's social media messaging on any unscheduled events.

"The meeting was brief and respectful, and a chance for me to share my public safety as Chief of Police."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: World News, Astroworld, Celebrity, travis scott, Music, US News, US Entertainment

Tom Wood
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