Four U.S. athletes injured in fatal balcony collapse at a nightclub in South Korea
A balcony inside a nightclub in South Korea collapsed Saturday, killing two people and injuring four United States athletes, according to police.
Two South Korean men died while 16 others were injured, the Associated Press reports authorities said. The two deceased did not appear to be athletes. The wounded include eight players who were in Gwangju to participate in the swimming championships.
“This is an awful tragedy,” Christopher Ramsey, CEO of USA Water Polo said. “Players from our men’s and women’s teams were celebrating the women’s world championship victory when the collapse occurred at a public club. Our hearts go out to the victims of the crash and their families.”
Among the Americans injured, Kaleigh Gilchrist endured a deep left leg laceration, Greg Mescall, director of communications for USA Water Polo said. The 27-year-old underwent surgery at a hospital in Gwangju following the collapse.
Mescall also added Paige Hauschild suffered lacerations on the right arm while Johnny Hooper endured similar complications on the left hand that required stitches. Ben Hallock, who was a member of team USA at the 2016 Olympics, suffered minor scrapes to the legs, per Mescall.
Authorities confirmed they are launching an investigation into the incident to determine if the balcony that disintegrated was an unauthorized structure.
“All USA water polo athletes are safe and accounted for,” the organization said in a statement posted to Twitter.