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3 American Swimmers Among Injured in South Korean Balcony Collapse

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2019

Police stand at the door to a nightclub in Gwangju, South Korea, Saturday, July 27, 2019. Members of the U.S. national water polo team were in a South Korean nightclub on Saturday when an internal balcony collapsed, killing at least one person. A local news agency has reported that one person has died, with 13 injured. No U.S. swimmers were at the club at the time. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Lee Jin-man/Associated Press

Two South Korean men died and eight athletes were among the 16 injured when a nightclub balcony collapsed Saturday in Gwangju, South Korea, which is currently hosting the 2019 World Aquatics Championships.

Hyung-Jin Kim of the Associated Press reported police said three of the injured athletes were Americans. Water polo player Kaleigh Gilchrist of Newport Beach, California, required surgery on a deep left leg laceration.

USA Water Polo announced that Paige Hauschild and Johnny Hooper both received stitches for lacerations. Ben Hallock suffered "minor scrapes" on his legs but didn't require medical attention, which is why he wasn't among the official injured count. All three athletes are from California.

"This is an awful tragedy," USA Water Polo CEO Christopher Ramsey said, per Kim. "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."

The United States women's water polo team scored an 11-6 victory over Spain in Friday night's final to capture gold. It was the squad's third consecutive triumph in the World Championships, and the U.S. is also the event's two-time defending champions in the Olympics.

None of the 16 injured in the balcony collapse are in life-threatening condition, per Kim.

Two athletes from New Zealand, one from the Netherlands, one from Italy and one from Brazil were among the other athletes injured.

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