Irish among five killed in California balcony collapse

Courtesy of RTE:

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that a number of Irish citizens are among five people who died in a balcony collapse at an apartment block in northern California.

Irish citizens are also among eight people who were injured in the incident at Berkeley.

The area is a popular destination for J1 students and there are reports that there was an Irish 21st birthday party taking place in the apartment at the time.

It is believed the balcony, which was on the fourth floor, collapsed first on to the balcony below and then onto the path.

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19 Responses to Irish among five killed in California balcony collapse

  1. 40Watt says:

    My deepest condolences. What a horrible thing.

  2. irishgirl999 says:

    Thank you 40. This is just terrible. We are getting news here that all of the dead and injured are Irish.

  3. Scarsdale says:

    Deepest sympathy. Condolences to all family members.

  4. IG – – In February 2001 when my son was a freshman at a smaller private college, a similar incident occurred with one student death. It was a warm Saturday evening and a party was being held at a home just off campus that was a student housing rental. Students were gathered on a 2nd floor deck that suddenly collapsed onto a patio below where students were also standing. Each year, the mom of the young woman that was killed honors her daughter in the local paper. The tragedy of this loss of a beautiful, vibrant young woman has never left me. My son and the young woman resided in the same dorm and were age mates. The other family is always in my thoughts when I celebrate the milestones and special moments in my son’s life that they never had the opportunity to experience.

    In an equally bizarre happening in May of that same spring, a thwarted 55 year old stalker of one of the University’s professors came onto the campus in the mid afternoon with a gun in a murder-suicide plan. The professor happened not to be on site, so in his mania he shot another professor who was walking on the campus grounds. The campus is lovely and treed, but not all that large, so many many students, including my son, were suddenly participants in a campus killing. It was an unbelievable event – – that is now sadly believable and not unexpected.

    I never thought something like that would happen in my life experience, much less my children. I don’t think that way any more and 9/11 added the exclamation point !

  5. irishgirl999 says:

    The death toll has now risen to 6.

  6. MrsGunka says:

    First, I had not heard about this tragedy, but send love to the family and Ireland in this time of shock and sorrow. I’m sure those from that area have heard and seen the pictures. Balcony’s scare me to death. We had a huge deck off our mountain home and we literally lived out there, but every 8 feet it had a post securing it and all the joists were anchored to the house! Ironic! They are just showing it on the news as I write. The darkness just had to add to the horror. Six are now dead. My daughter called me at 8 this morning to tell me “Bill” had made landfall but missed Galveston and she was just fine. I have had nightmare since she moved down there! Had heard nothing about this storm – Tropical Storm Bill. Winds at 65 mph but they will not get the 10 inches of rain that will fall where it crossed to the land. Having only been without rain 4 days since the first of May, have been trying to keep up with the water here. The news has been all politics and shootings so you kind of muffle out what they are saying. It’s all been shocking. Local news has been front and center. It’s a big country and the mind gets saturated!

  7. lindak1961 says:

    My deepest condolences and prayers to the families of the victims.

  8. irishgirl999 says:

    It appears that many of the dead and injured are from my locality. I am in shock. I cannot even begin to imagine their loved one’s anguish and pain.

    • 40Watt says:

      When you have news and can share it…. I know I speak for all of us, we are thinking of you and everyone affected, in whatever way, by this tragedy,

  9. titlewave says:

    Big hugs to you IG, and know we all are here sending love to you and everyone who has been touched by this. Just so awful. I want to say that I hope you don’t know any of the poor souls, but sadly someone does and for them the pain has to be immense.

  10. Scorpie says:

    Read about the terrible tragedy early this morning. My first thought was an earthquake had caused the collapse of the balcony since it was in Berkeley. My thoughts and prayers go out to all that are affected by this.

    • irishgirl999 says:

      Thanks Memphis. Two of the dead, Olivia Burke and Eimear Walsh were past pupils at my daughter’s school. I have just received another text from the school confirming this. We don’t know anything about the injured at this stage but have been led to believe that their injuries are “life-changing.”

      The NY Times has written an appalling article about the tragedy, essentially blaming drunken Irish students. The reaction to it here has been very negative. Many families have children in the US on visas and we all understand how you send your children off and just hope and pray that they return safely. My own son is in San Diego on a J1 visa at the moment so I can truly identify with this.

      Westboro Church also tweeted about “payback” for our same-sex marriage referendum. And apparently Fox had some article about the collapse and the comments by the RWNJs were absolutely despicable. The Irish are having a hard time fathoming some of the reaction coming from these nutcases.

      From NYT:
      Deaths of Irish Students in Berkeley Balcony Collapse Cast Pall on Program
      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/us/balcony-collapse-berkeley-dead.html

  11. My apologies to you for the insensitive and inappropriate media remarks – – For many, many years, tourist Americans have been known as ‘Ugly Americans’ for a reason. Good god, American youth misbehave horribly just in the US on Spring Breaks, etc . . . one can only imagine what they do when vacationing in other countries that have relaxed drinking ages. The tragedy has everything to do with an unexpected building failure that killed 6 young adults. injured others and has devastated families forever.

    • irishgirl999 says:

      Thank you, but there is no need for you to apologise. The Times issued a half-assed apology but it is not enough and people are incensed. The article was atrocious and implied that those that died were drunken Irish paddies and were responsible for their own deaths and injuries. There was no evidence of that whatsoever. I’m sure there was drinking going on, but I have hosted parties in my own home for 18th and 21st birthday parties for my sons. Sure, there was a lot of noise, but there was no one rolling around the place drunk or getting sick and they all thanked me for the party as they filed out the door.

      And now we find out that the wooden supports were rotten. The police are also investigating the fact that not all thirteen were on the balcony at the time – that in fact some may have tried to save their friends and been pulled down with the rest.

      The country, and especially Dublin is traumatised by what happened. I was talking to my neighbour today and she told me that both of the girls from Dublin who died, lived about a four minute walk away.

      And of course, people are worried about the injured. Two girls are in a critical condition still, and of the five remaining people who are stable, two of those have life-changing injuries.

      It is all just so awful.

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