| 17.12,17. 06:50 PM |
Two dead, 17 hurt after balcony collapses at Melbourne Christmas party
Photo: It is believed the balcony collapsed as a group was taking a photo. (ABC News)
Two people have died and 17 others are in hospital after a balcony collapsed at a house party in Melbourne's east last night.
The ABC understands more than 30 people were attending a Tupperware Christmas party in Doncaster East, and it is believed they were trying to take a photo when the balcony collapsed about 10:30pm.
A 59-year-old woman, from Croydon in Melbourne's east, died at the scene.
A 37-year-old woman, from Reservoir in the city's north, died in hospital this morning.
Seventeen other people were also taken to hospital with various injuries, but police said they were non-life-threatening.
Neighbour Andrew Stone said he was watching television when he heard a loud crashing noise "like a tree being felled".
"I got up and came out to the street, because I knew it wasn't right, and that point a woman was sort of in hysteria — she'd come out and she was yelling 'oh my god, oh my god'," Mr Stone said.
"People started coming out [of the house] with visible blood, injuries, clearly distressed, lying down on the grass and obviously receiving first aid.
"It's one of those things that you don't think about, obviously, hosting a nice Christmas break-up.
"When I got home, the atmosphere from it was really good — people were laughing and having a really good time so for that to happen is unbelievable."
Acting Superintendent Kerin Moloney said it appeared to be an accident.
"This is a tragic incident that has been magnified by the fact we are only one week away from Christmas," he said.
Ambulance Victoria state health commander Paul Holman said it was a chaotic scene that required a major emergency response.