Balcony collapses at Dunedin property


Seventeen people have been injured, eight of them seriously, after a balcony collapsed at a property in Dunedin's student quarter during a Six60 gig.

The Kiwi band was playing a surprise concert on Castle St when the balcony of a nearby flat, full of spectators, gave way at around 7:45pm.

Police, fire and ambulance services attended the scene, accessing the property from neighbouring Cumberland St after struggling to navigate through crowds to reach the injured.

Police say up to 1500 people were at the concert in a confined area, including people on surrounding balconies and neighbouring rooftops.

An attempt was made to remove some people from the overcrowded balconies when one gave way, showering debris on those in the courtyard area and sending people crashing to the ground, a drop of around 3m.

St John says they transported eight people to Dunedin Hospital with a range of serious injuries, including possible head injuries and fractures. Two have suffered injuries considered serious, but not life-threatening.

Six patients with minor to moderate injuries were transported to the hospital by police.

Dunedin Hospital says they're assessing a total of 17 patients at the emergency department.

Popular Kiwi band Six60 were performing in Castle St tonight, near the address they once resided at and named their band after.

Hundreds of people attended the surprise gig, many of them on balconies on surrounding properties, and posted photos to social media.

The band continued to play after the collapse for another hour -- Six60 bassist Chris Mac later stated on Twitter they did so under advisement from police, security and their "team".

Once police ordered them to stop, the band complied.

Witness Mikaela Ellis told Newshub she didn't think the crowded balconies looked safe.

"Pretty much all the people in the flats were piled out on their balconies and were jumping," she says. "You could see the balconies weren't going to hold. I actually turned to one of my friends before Six60 came out and said, 'I bet you one of these collapses'."

She says there were people packed underneath the balconies as well as on top of them.

Many of the victims are believed to be students from Otago University. The Students' Association president says they're saddened by the news.

"Our focus is on supporting to any students who have been affected and we urge anyone requiring support to contact"

WorkSafe New Zealand will be attending the scene.