Top UCLA officials are making changes to the way students get into athletic events after a dangerous crowd surge outside Pauley Pavilion on Friday before a basketball game.
When a massive crowd of eager UCLA basketball fans started getting rowdy outside Pauley Pavilion on Friday before the game it reminded some students of the deadly Astroworld concert in Houston nearly two weeks ago. Ten people suffered fatal injuries in a crush of fans after panic ripped through the crowd during rapper Travis Scott's set.
"People were making parallels to what happened in Houston at the Travis Scott concert," said Matthew Orihuela, a UCLA sophomore who was in line on Friday hoping to get seats to UCLA's game against Villanova. "While we were in the crowd, a lot of people were mentioning that."
The crowd started to surge about two hours before game time when doors opened. And that's when the chaos began.
Local news from across Southern California
Orihuela recorded video on his cell phone, moments before it happened, showing the densely packed crowd of people.
"For two hours, we were in that crowd of people, just getting pushed from behind, crushed on all sides," he said. "Even as we were yelling and screaming for people to stop pushing or yelling for help, not a single security officer really came up."
The school's athletic director apologized to students and fans on twitter after the game, promising changes like more staff to manage lines, and additional barricades to control those lines. The changes were expected beginning with Monday night's game against Long Beach State.
No injuries were reported on Friday, but many students say it was still a terrifying experience.
"At some point, my friend and I had decided it's not worth it, we don't really want to be here anymore, it's not safe," Orihuela said. "But at that point, we couldn't leave if we tried. We were locked in on all sides."