Skip to content
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Paramedics at the scene.
Paramedics at the scene.
Image: NBC News

Six Irish students die after balcony collapses in Berkeley, California

As many as nine were seriously injured.
Jun 16th 2015, 1:08 PM 183,889 92

Updated at 5.06pm

SIX IRISH STUDENTS have died in a balcony collapse in Berkeley, California.

As many as eight are seriously injured.

Many of the injured have critical, life-threatening wounds, said officer Jennifer Coats, a spokeswoman with the Berkeley Police Department.

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said he was informed by police that it is currently believed that no other nationalities are involved. The students are believed to have been on a J1.

Police received a call about the incident shortly before 1 am local time, and when officers arrived they found that the balcony on the fourth floor of the Liberty Gardens building on Kittredge Street had disintegrated.

It is believed a 21st birthday party was taking place at the time.

kittredge street

The incident took place one block from the University of California.

Stephanie Chuang, a reporter with NBC Bay Area, told TheJournal.ie a fifth person was pronounced dead in hospital.

Shortly before 5pm Irish time, a sixth person died in hospital.

She understands that the victims were aged between 20 and 25. There is no confirmation yet on the nationalities of the eight injured people

A neighbour who gave a lift to a young Irish couple told her that they spoke about going to a party in the private apartment complex which is close to UC Berkeley.

Minister Charlie Flanagan said:

My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the deceased and those who have been injured in this appalling accident.

“My Department in Dublin stands ready to provide all possible consular assistance to the Irish citizens affected by this tragedy. Our Consul General in San Francisco is in close contact with the authorities and will be providing assistance to those affected on the ground.”

He told RTÉ the incident currently looks like a “tragic accident”.

We are still waiting official confirmation of names and identities”

Consul General Philip Grant is at the scene working with emergency services, Flanagan added.

President Michael D Higgins, who is currently on an official visit to Italy, said in a statement:

I have heard with the greatest sadness of the terrible loss of life of young Irish people and the critical injury of others in Berkeley, California today.
My heart goes out to the families and loved one’s of all those involved. I have been informed of the consular assistance being provided to assist all of the families involved and I have asked to be kept informed as further details emerge.

Many of the injured have critical, life-threatening wounds, said officer Jennifer Coats, a spokeswoman with the Berkeley Police Department.

Police received a call about the incident shortly before 1 a.m. PDT Tuesday, and when officers arrived they found that the balcony on the fourth floor of the building on Kittredge Street had disintegrated.

Coats said officers are still investigating and she doesn’t have any information on how it occurred or what the people were doing on the structure at the time.

We don’t know what happened. Officers on scene talking with people

Coats said she also didn’t have information on the identities of the victims, including their ages and gender.

We don’t have a lot of specific detail at this point because they (investigators) are still trying to work through it all.

The building has apartments in the upper floors and retails shops at ground level.

Student travel agency USIT say they are aware of the incident and have been in contact with the DFA.

Anyone with concerns about friends or family in the region, should call the Emergency Consular Response Team on +353 1 418 0200. There may be a delay in getting through to the volume of calls the line is currently taking.

More on this as we get it. Additional reporting by Rónán Duffy, Sinead O’Carroll, and The Associated Press.

Send a tip to the author

Nicky Ryan

COMMENTS (92)

    Back to top