8 athletes injured in nightclub loft's collapse during swimming worlds
Eight athletes were confirmed injured in an incident early Saturday that a loft inside a nightclub collapsed in the South Korean southwestern city of Gwangju, where the 18th FINA World Championships was ongoing.
"Most of the athletes present during the incident returned safely to the Athlete's Village after a consultation at the official hospital. In particular, eight athletes were involved and seven incurred minor injuries. one athlete remained in hospital for further medical treatment for a minor suture operation for a leg laceration," FINA said in a statement.
According to the Gwangju Fire and Safety Headquarters cited by Yonhap news agency, the loft, about 2.5 meters above the lower floor, inside the nightclub caved in on top of people at 2:29am local time, killing two South Koreans. Yonhap earlier reported that nine athletes were wounded.
"Gwangju 2019 will continue to activate all measures to ensure health care and assistance are provided whenever necessary," the statement noted.
"Although this was an unexpected accident that occurred in a club, there were some athletes participating in the World Championships among the injured," said Je Soong-ja, director of sports department for the Gwangju organizing committee.
"We would like to send our best wishes to any victims for this accident and we kindly ask all athletes, officials and fans to remain safe and alert even outside the competition," the director added.
When the incident occurred, there were reportedly around 370 people inside the nightclub, including about 100 on the loft space.
The fire authorities suspected that the loft might have collapsed because of too much weight. The local authorities believed that the loft area was expanded without a proper authorization, according to the Yonhap report.