Six Students Killed In Balcony Collapse Named

Six students who died after a fourth-floor balcony collapsed during a 21st birthday party have been named.The three men and three women are: Ashley Donohoe, 22, Olivia Burke, 21, Eoghan Culligan, 21, Niccolai Schuster, 21, Lorcan Miller, 21, and Eimear Walsh, 21.

Five of them were from Ireland, while Ms Donohoe was believed to be from Rohnert Park, California.

Some were from south Dublin and students at the city’s University College Dublin and had gone to Berkeley, California, to start a dream trip on popular summer working holiday visas.

Their families are expected to arrive in the town over the next few hours.

Philip Grant, consul general with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in the region, said the tragedy touched everyone in Ireland.

“To have this happen at the start of this season is something that has left us all frozen in shock and disbelief,” he said.

“We are a very close, tight-knit group. Ireland is a small country and when you have the numbers that we had here today, very few of us have been left untouched by this tragedy.”

Seven other people were injured, some critically, when the balcony collapsed, causing those on it to fall about 40ft (12.2m) to the ground.

One person is believed to have managed to scramble back inside as the balcony gave way.

Pictures from the scene showed that the balcony, about 5ft by 10ft, appeared to have broken off from the building and partly landed on the balcony below it, as well as in the street.

The area was cordoned off, and on the closed street below, a shrine was growing. Flowers, a pack of cigarettes, a Cal Berkeley university banner and condolence notes were left at the site.

All the balconies in the apartment building have been sealed off while they are checked for safety.

A 21-year-old Irish student was asleep in the building when he heard the collapse, shortly after midnight. “I just heard a bang and a lot of shouting,” said Dan Sullivan.

Another, Mark Neville, said: “I walked out and I saw rubble on the street and a bunch of Irish students crying.”

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said there were 13 people on the balcony at the time of the collapse.

“My heart breaks for the parents who have lost children,” he said.

Police received a noise complaint concerning a loud party in the apartment about an hour before the balcony collapsed at 12.41am (08.41am UK time) but had not yet responded, said Officer Byron White, a spokesman for the Berkeley Police Department.

Police were then alerted that the balcony had collapsed.

“What the first responders said is it was quite disturbing,” Officer White said.

The building, which was built in 2006, has apartments on the upper floor and shops on the ground floor.

The neighbourhood – just blocks from the University of California, Berkeley – is dotted with museums, a city library, restaurants, coffee shops and chain stores.

The Irish victims were in the country for the summer on J1 visas.

Irish Consul Philip Grant said hundreds of Irish college students obtain temporary US visas annually to spend the summer working in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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