A pair of Santa Barbara natives were among those injured when an internal balcony at a nightclub collapsed Saturday in South Korea, according to media reports.
Two South Korean men died and 16 were injured in the incident, police said. San Marcos High graduate Paige Hauschild and Ben Hallock both suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Members of the USA Water Polo Senior National Teams were at an establishment in Gwangju, South Korea celebrating the Women’s National Team winning the FINA World Championship, according to USA Water Polo.
“All USA Water Polo athletes are safe and accounted for. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this tragedy,” read a statement on the USA Water Polo website.
Kaleigh Gilchrist, of Newport Beach, suffered a deep left leg laceration and underwent surgery at a hospital, according to Greg Mescall, director of communications for USA Water Polo.
Hauschild and Johnny Hooper, of Los Angeles, suffered lacerations that required stitches. Hallock suffered minor scrapes on the legs, Mescall said.
“This is an awful tragedy,” said Christopher Ramsey, head of USA Water Polo. “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.”
According to police, eight athletes were injured. Among them were three Americans, two New Zealanders, one Dutch, one Italian, and One Brazilian.
Police said they detained one of the nightclub’s co-owners and summoned three other club officials to investigate whether the collapsed balcony was an unauthorized structure.
The incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. Saturday. An estimated 370 were still in the club, according to BBC.