Astroworld staff instructed to refer to dead concertgoers as 'Smurfs,' according to event plan

Event organizers told staff to never to use 'dead' or 'deceased' over the radio. 

HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 05: General view of atmosphere during the third annual Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on November 05, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images)

HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 05: General view of atmosphere during the third annual Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on November 05, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images)

Rick Kern/Getty Images

staff were instructed to refer to dead concert-goers as "Smurfs," according to a 56-page security and emergency medical response obtained by CNN and authored by Austin, Texas-based concert promoter Scoremore. The wide-ranging document outlines contingencies and instructions for staff responding to different situations at the festival, which ended Friday night with the deaths of concert-goers as a result of a deadly crowd surge.

Some ticketed fans were on hand to see Friday headliner Travis Scott perform on the festival's first night when thronging fans began trampling and crushing one another. , ages 14 and 16 died in the ensuing rush.

Another young casualty of the was a 9-year-old boy who was severely injured and is currently in a medically induced coma, according to Julian Gill of the . The organizer's , filed with Harris County for the two-day festival, notes "the potential for multiple alcohol/drug related incidents, possible evacuation needs, and the ever-present threat of a mass situation are identified as key concerns."

One notable section in the document asks staff to use a code word in the event of a traumatic injury resulting in at the venue. Specifically, security responding to a potential fatality must begin by "notifying Event Control of a suspected deceased victim utilizing the code 'Smurf,'" borrowing from the blue animated children's characters. The document stresses staff should "never use the term 'dead' or 'deceased' over the radio."

"Based on the site's layout and numerous past experiences, a Security Plan has been established to help mitigate potential negative issues within the scope of the festival," the Scoremore event plan states.

Those past experiences include the hospitalizations of three people who suffered injuries as the result of a stampede of fans through the event's entrance gates at Astroworld . The festival's 2021 plan does not specifically address protocols for a surge. 

The document does, however, include protocols for active shooter situations and bomb threats, as well as another situational code word for reporting a child who has gone missing on the premises ("CODE ADAM"). It also instructs staff to "watch for individuals attempting to arouse the crowd" and "monitor behavior for escalation." The event's executive producer and festival director, whose names and hierarchy are redacted in the plan obtained by CNN, are the only individuals with the authority to stop the show, according to the document. The festival site is also listed as falling under the jurisdiction of the City of Houston Police and Fire Departments. 

It's unclear whether staff used the code word "Smurf" to radio in Astroworld victims, some of whom were described in eyewitness as turning blue as they suffocated in the crush of people. Instagram user @diabloxantiago said in a video that he watched concert-goers laid out in a VIP section turn "black and blue" as people tried to perform CPR on them. 

In a statement shared on Instagram , Scoremore and national promoter Live Nation said they have met with Houston police and provided them with footage from event cameras. "We wanted to provide an update on the steps that Scoremore, Live Nation and the Astroworld Fest team have been taking," organizers wrote. "Throughout the weekend, we have been working to provide local authorities with everything they need from us in order to complete their investigation and get everyone the answers they are looking for."