- The 22-year-old Indian American who was declared brain dead and was on a ventilator since the weekend has died.
A Houston, Texas family is mourning the death of their daughter, Bharti Shahani, who succumbed to injuries nearly a week after the Nov. 5 deadly stampede at rapper Travis Scott’s performance at Astroworld festival. The 22-year-old senior at Texas A&M University who was declared brain dead and was on a ventilator since the weekend died on Nov. 10 at the Houston Methodist Hospital.
In a press conference the following day, her parents, Karishma and Sunny Shahani remembered their elder daughter. The mom, clearly heartbroken and devastated by the tragic death, couldn’t control her tears. “I want my baby back,” she pleaded. “I’m empty here,” she said, amid tears, as she pointed to her heart.
Sunny Shahani said his daughter “was like an angel for us, she was the head of the family,” he said. “[She was] always calm, always listens, and she had a bright future.”
Bharti Shahani went to the concert with her younger sister Namrata and their cousin Mohit Belani. Namrata Shahani told ABC 13 that when the crowd surged, they lost each other. They both lost their cell phones and couldn’t get in touch with her sister, she said. “Once we let go of her hand, the next time we saw her, we were in the ER.” As the 50,000-strong crowd surged around them, she told the press conference that the last words her elder sister uttered were: “Are you alright.”
She was taken to the ER by ambulance and she was given CPR on the way there. When her parents learned the news, they rushed to multiple area hospitals before finding their daughter.
Bellani told the Daily Beast that the festival was an “atrocity.” He blames the organizers for the tragedy at the “grossly oversold” event. “This was 100 percent avoidable,” he said and blasted the organizers for not hiring security and trained medics to care for their injuries. “This was an act of pure, pure brutality,” he declared. “They suffocated us. They did this to Bharti, they suffocated Bharti.”
Earlier, Namrata Shahani had set up a GoFundMe to raise funds “to help cover mounting expenses during this strenuous time.” She described her sister as “the light of our lives,” adding that “we are all praying for her full and speedy recovery.”
Also among the nine victims is Pakistani American Mirza Danish Baig, 27, who died trying to save his fiancée.
Danish Baig’s brother Ammar Baig told People magazine that his brother died trying to save his fiancée Olivia Swingle. He said his brother was separated from his 25-year-old fiancée amid the stampede, adding that “he managed to get it to where she was able to get out.” He said an ambulance got to Swingle, but by the time it reached Danish Baig, it was too late. They tried resuscitating him, but before they got to the hospital, he couldn’t make it.”
Danish Baig, who worked as a district manager with AT&T, traveled from Dallas to Houston for the show with Swingle and his younger brother Basil Baig. In a Facebook post, Basil Baig wrote that people “started hitting them” and that Swingle was badly bruised up. “He was trying to save her and no one was there to help him,” he said. Danish Baig and Swingle had planned a large wedding in Dallas early next year, Basil Baig said.
Ammar Baig told People that his parents had moved to Texas from Karachi when Danish Baig was a baby. He was the middle child of five siblings. “He had a huge heart,” Ammar Baig said of his brother. “He would take care of everybody. He was basically the center that would bring everyone together. He was the funny one, the goofy one, the outgoing one. Our brothers and sisters have our own personalities, but he was the glue to it all.”
(Top photo, parents of Bharti Shahani, Karishma and Sunny Shahani)