Water polo: New Zealand teams uninjured in South Korean nightclub balcony collapse

  • 27/07/2019
Katie McKenty (L) of New Zealand challenges Natasa Rybanska of Hungary.
Katie McKenty (L) of New Zealand challenges Natasa Rybanska of Hungary. Photo credit: AAP

Members of the New Zealand men's and women's water polo teams are "safe and well" after a balcony collapsed in a South Korean nightclub they were in, leaving dozens injured.

South Korean news agency Yohap reports one person died and a further 14 were injured inside the Coyote Ugly night club in Gwangju. 

The Kiwi teams are currently in South Korea for the FINA 2019 World Aquatics Championships and were put celebrating the women's final which the US won. 

One of the injured is reportedly a US player who participated in the World Swimming Championships. It's unclear if it was a male or female. 

It's understood the Australian women's water polo team were inside the club and escaped unharmed.

Footage from the scene shows people screaming and others trying to hold the ceiling up.

New Zealand men's captain Matt Small told Radio Sport a few of the men's team tried to get some of the injured out from under the rubble. 

New Zealand Water polo chief executive Chris Wilson confirmed that members of both teams were at the nightclub at the time of the incident.

"At this stage, there are no serious injuries, a couple of our women's players had some minor injuries, but all the New Zealand players are safe and well and accounted for," he told Radio Sport. 

"Like any situation with human nature where people are under a bit of pressure people do rise to the occasion and I'm sure that part of the New Zealand team they would rise to that occasion themselves.

"That's the sort of thing we do when we get into these type of situations."

There are reports that between eight and 15 New Zealand players were inside. 

The New Zealand men's team finished 16th overall, while the women's placed 12th. 

"It's been a busy two weeks for the New Zealand men's and women's teams at this championships," Wilson added. 

"We had an outstanding result for the New Zealand women - finishing 12th, one of the highest placings in a 16 team tournament."

"The New Zealand men's not as strong in 16th, but a very high-level competition."