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Death of 22-Year-Old Texas A&M Student, Bharti Shahani, Raises Astroworld Festival Death Toll to Nine

Bharti Shahani (Photo Credit GoFundMe)
Nearly a week after rapper Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival in Houston devolved into a "mass casualty event" that left eight dead and hundreds injured, the death toll continues to climb.

Bharti Shahani, a 22-year-old Texas A&M student, who had previously been declared brain dead after being injured in a deadly crowd surge that began while the singer was on stage, passed away Wednesday according to her family who spoke at a press conference earlier today. 

“She was like an angel to us,” Shahani’s father, Bhagu “Sunny” Shahani, said. “She was the head of the family, she was a very nice girl. Always calm, always listened. She had a bright future. Only thing I’ll request, to the Houstonians, to please, please make sure that she gets justice. And I don’t want somebody else’s daughter to go like this.”

Shahani attended the concert with her sister and cousin, but the trio was separated when waves of fans began surging toward the main stage. Her sister Namrata and cousin Mohit Bellani lost their phones during the event and were not able to locate Shahani, who was rushed to Houston Methodist Hospital while receiving CPR and suffered multiple heart attacks according to her family. 

Bellani told Houston's ABC affiliate that “people started toppling like dominos" during the surge.

"It was like a sinkhole. People were falling on top of each other. There were like layers of bodies on the ground, like two people thick," he said.  "We were fighting to come up to the top and breathe to stay alive.”  

According to Bellani, Shahani lost oxygen for several minutes and because of that, her brain stem got swollen to almost 90 percent.  She was given little chance to live by doctors, as she showed no sign of brain activity and had been placed on a ventilator.

GoFundMe was set up to cover medical and other expenses for Shahani, who would have graduated in the spring with a degree in electronics systems engineering. She joins John Hilgert (14), Brianna Rodriguez (16), Jacob Jurinek (21),  Franco Patiño (21), Axel Acosta (21), Rudy Peña (23), Madison Dubiski (23) and Danish Baig (27) as those who paid the ultimate price when chaos broke out amongst the estimated crowd of more than 50,000 people that attended the concert.

She may not be the last, however. Nine-year-old Ezra Blout, who was trampled in the melee, is reportedly fighting for his life.

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