Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny says police told him there were 13 people on a balcony in Berkeley, California, when it collapsed.
Five people were killed and eight seriously injured Tuesday when the accident occurred during a 21st birthday party.
Two Irish students asleep in the building said they heard a bang as a balcony collapsed in Berkeley, California, and five Irish students in the U.S. on work visas were killed.
“I walked out and I saw rubble on the street and a bunch of Irish students crying,” said Mark Neville, who has been in the U.S. for three weeks under the J-1 visa program.
“I just heard a bang and a lot of shouting,” added Dan Sullivan, 21.
7:10 a.m. PDT
Police say they received a noise complaint about a loud party about an hour before a balcony collapsed at a Berkeley, California, apartment building, killing five Irish students in the U.S. on work visas.
Eight other people were injured in the incident that occurred during a 21st birthday party.
Officer Byron White, a spokesman for the Berkeley Police Department, says officers had not yet responded to the complaint before the collapse at 12:41 a.m. PDT
The balcony, estimated to have been 5 feet by 10 feet, separated completely from the building and landed on a lower balcony.
5:50 a.m. PDT
Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan told reporters in Dublin that all five of those killed when a balcony collapsed in Berkeley, California, were Irish students in the U.S. on temporary visas. He said a 21st birthday party was underway in the building at the time of the accident.
Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs said it was attempting to contact families of the victims and could not give details of their identities.
5:25 a.m. PDT
Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan says he believes all five of those killed in a balcony collapse in Berkeley, California, are Irish. He said four died at the scene and one in a hospital
Irish President Michael D. Higgins said in a statement that he had “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.”
The building in the heart of downtown Berkeley has apartments in the upper floors and retails shops at ground level. The walkable neighborhood just blocks from the University of California, Berkeley, is dotted with museums, restaurants, coffee shops and chain stores.
1145 GMT (4:45 a.m. PDT)
The Irish government says several young Irish citizens have been killed in a balcony collapse in Berkeley, California.
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said in a statement that “a number of young Irish citizens have lost their lives” and several others have been seriously injured.
He said, “my heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the deceased and those who have been injured in this appalling accident.”
Flanagan said the Irish consul general in San Francisco would be providing assistance to those affected.
Police say five people were killed and eight injured — many of them critically — when an apartment building balcony collapsed early Tuesday in Berkeley.
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