NZ water polo teams in 'chilling' S. Korea balcony collapse

The New Zealand men's and women's water polo team were in a South Korea nightclub when an internal balcony collapsed, killing at least one person.

A local news agency has reported that one person has died, with 13 injured, but none of the Kiwis players were hurt in the incident

Video posted from the nightclub appears to show club-goers attempting to support the ceiling while screams can be heard.

Men's captain Matt Small said there were about seven or eight team members in the club.

"[It was] business as usual and then it literally collapsed beneath our feet," he said.

He told Radio Sport there were people lying everywhere after the incident.

"None of the boys are hurt or injured though - so that's good."

"But everyone's a bit shaken up at the moment."

Small said he and a few teammates had been enjoying themselves moments before the incident.

"We were just dancing and then the next minute we dropped 5m-6m and everyone started rushing out of the club after that.

"We, I guess, fell on top of the heads of other people that were beneath us."

He said a few of the men's team tried to get some of the injured out from under the rubble.

"We did what we could but we couldn't really do too much. Some of them were pretty dire cases."

"We were more so just concerned about everyone else, we were trying to do a number count and make sure all the boys were there.

"And everyone was fine - so pretty relieving stuff but at the same time pretty chilling."

He said there was probably between 10-15 New Zealand men's and women's water polo players in the club.

The players did a headcount once outside the building and then jumped in taxis and headed home amid a chaotic scene as ambulance and police cars descended on the scene.

Small said the men's team would spend today in the city of Gwangju before catching a bus to Seoul tomorrow and then a flight to New Zealand.

He said he didn't know how many people were injured in the incident but as he made his way out of the club he saw multiple people laying on the ground who looked like they were dead.

Chris Wilson, the chief executive of NZ Water Polo, told Radio Sport that all the New Zealand players were "safe and well".

"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 said.

Wilson said he couldn't confirm whether some of the men's team had helped those injured in the balcony collapse.

"But 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," he said.

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

The Herald understands the balcony that collapsed was an internal stage within the nightclub and that members of the men's team helped pull injured people out from under the rubble.

It is also believed members of the team may have helped perform CPR on the injured.

A Korean news outlet has reported one person was killed and 14 injured during the incident in a club in the southwestern city of Gwangju.

It took place at 2.39am Korean time, and the 14 injured have now been taken to hospital.

Seven foreigners, including a US water polo player who participated in the World Swimming Championships, were among the injured, the news outlet reported.

The seven-story building had hundreds of guests and employees inside with the structure that collapsed, having a height of about 4m.

Both the New Zealand men's and women's team had finished competing at the world championships and were scheduled to fly home today.

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

"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."

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