“I thought I was going to die”: Stark County teen recounts Astroworld tragedy


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Nine people are dead and countless others injured after a crowd surge at the Travis Scott AstroWorld Festival in Houston, Texas. Stark County teen Cooper Downerd was among the injured; he spoke with Jordan Miller on Live and Local on News-Talk 1480 WHBC.

“15 to 20 seconds into the first song, I was on the ground,” said Cooper, the Jackson High School Student. “Right as I fell on the ground, it was a domino effect. People were falling on top of me. When those people fell on top of me, I was getting suffocated. My ribs were getting crushed. I was getting kicked in the head.”

Cooper said his cries for help went unnoticed in the chaos.

“Since I was the first one on the floor, there was too many layers of other people on top of me that no one could hear me,” he said.

The 17-year-old feared for his life, saying he saw someone in the same situation die in front of him.

“I saw someone in the same situation as me, with all these people on top of them, pass away in front of me,” Cooper said. “I thought I was going to die because I was in the same situation.”

Todd Downerd, Cooper’s father, was in line at the time of the surge, purchasing merchandise for his teenaged son when the surge began. He said he was storing the merchandise in a rented locker when he got the phone call from his son while in a medical tent.

“I was trying to keep my eye out for him and shortly after, he called me from the medical tent,” Todd said. “He said ‘dad, it’s not good, I’m in a neck brace.'”

Cooper is home recovering now, but says some days are better than others.

“I’m in a lot of pain,” he said. “I feel a little better than I did yesterday. Yesterday was one of my worst.”

At this time, there have been 58 lawsuits filed against Travis Scott and his team; Todd Downerd would not comment on if they would be pursuing a lawsuit at this time.