A balcony inside a nightclub in South Korea collapsed Saturday, killing two people and injuring four U.S. athletes, according to police.
Two South Korean men died while 16 others were injured, the Associated Press reported 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 said Paige Hauschild suffered lacerations on her right arm while Johnny Hooper endured similar cuts 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, Mescall said.
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.
USAWP Statement: An incident occurred in Gwangju, South Korea in which USA Water Polo Senior National Team athletes were present. All USA Water Polo athletes are safe and accounted for. Our thoughts are with all those involved.
— USA Water Polo (@USAWP) July 27, 2019
The U.S. women’s team completed its tournament Friday, winning the world title over Spain.
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