‘All Irish. All Gone’

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Nick-Schuster-MIEoghanCulliganOliviaBurkeEimear-WalshAshleyLorcan

From top: Niccolai Schuster; Eoghan Culligan; Olivia Burke; Eimear Walsh; Ashley Donohoe; and Lorcan Miller

Niccolai Schuster (21), Eoghan Culligan (21), Eimear Walsh (21), Olivia Burke (21), Ashley Donohoe (22) and Lorcan Miller (21) were celebrating a 21st birthday party at a Library Gardens apartment when the balcony collapsed on to the balcony below.

Niccolai Schuster and Eoghan Culligan were former pupils of St Mary’s College in Rathmines, Dublin.

Ashley Donohoe is an Irish-American from Rohnert Park, which is 50 miles north of San Francisco. She and Olivia Burke are cousins.

Seven other people were seriously injured. Berkeley police spokeswoman Jennifer Coats said the survivors’ injuries were “very serious and potentially life-threatening”.

Berkeley deaths: Six Irish students who died when balcony collapsed have been named (irish Times)

Officer Byron White of the Berkeley Police said 13 people were on the fourth-floor balcony when it collapsed about 12:40 a.m., sending debris and bodies plunging to the street. Less than an hour earlier, the police had received a call of a loud party.

Berkeley Balcony Collapse Kills 6, Including Irish Tourists (New York Times)

 

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Before and after.

From top: the balcony at Kettredge Street, Berkeley, California before and after the collapse this morning when five Irish students lost their lives.

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Outside the apartment block at 2020 Kittredge Street, Berkeley.

Pics: Stan BungerSFGate Earlier: 920x920balcony5CHnuoVZUEAA5ZQw 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UPu0POEy8w

Authorities say five people are dead and eight others injured in a balcony collapse in Berkeley [California]. Officer Jennifer Coats of the Berkeley Police Department says many of the injured have critical, life-threatening wounds.
She says police received the call about the incident shortly before 1 a.m. PDT Tuesday. Arriving officers found that the balcony on the fourth floor of an apartment building on Kittredge Street had collapsed.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs emergency response number is 01- 418 0200

5 dead, 8 critically hurt in Berkeley balcony collapse (FoxSanDiego)

UPDATE at 1.15pm:

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has confirmed to RTÉ that the five who died were Irish.

Pics via: Amy Hollyfield and ABC 7 Chicago

78 thoughts on “‘All Irish. All Gone’

    1. Rob_G

      That second picture has me horrified – looks like sh*tty chipboard!

      Those poor kids and their families :(

          1. Reppy

            Looks like whatever the roofing membrane/flashing to the balcony/wall junction had failed and over time the cantilevered timbers have rotted through and then failed at the junction under the weight. Terrible tragedy RIP

  1. Spaghetti Hoop

    Tragic.

    NBC already questioning both the building standards and the actions of the students at the time of the collapse. You’d think they would wait until the families have been notified of their poor kids.

    1. Jessica Carroll

      Classic victim blaming. They’ll probably say they were all Irish and drunk off their heads on a balcony which should only accommodate two or three people at best.

      1. Odis

        I wonder how many people would go out onto a balcony, if you had signs up saying caution “only eight people allowed on at any time”.
        Fancy enjoying your cold beer on a deck chair on something like that?

      2. Colin

        To be fair, the chances of an orderly chess game taking place on a balcony in Berkley at 1am is fairly low. Drunk or not, its tragic however.

      3. Gers

        Yep and thats exactly right too. You want to paint it rose, go ahead but 13 students on that little balcony was/is irresponsible.

        1. Buzz

          WTF. I always assumed a balcony is built to hold as many people as can fit on it and have never seen a warning to the contrary displayed on one.

          1. Yea, Ok

            Well that depends on how you define “fit”. Any right thinking person would conclude that being squashed in like sardines is not “fitting”. Twenty people *could* fit in a car, that doesn’t mean anyone would think it’s ok to drive around like that.
            It’s a tragedy and I’m not lessening that, but I would confidently say that looking back all of the poor survivors will acknowledge there were too many people on the balcony.

          2. Tom Stewart

            I don’t know on what you’re basing that assumption.

            Absolutely nothing?

            Good basis for your assumptions. Keep it up.

          3. Lilly

            It’s a reasonable assumption. Elevators have signs warning people ‘8 people only’ where necessary so why not balconies if that’s the case.

        2. weldoninhio

          According to reports the balcony was 50sq ft. The load-bearing capacity of a 50sq ft balcony should be able to hold 15 people each weighing 15st. Now, 15 15-stone people probably wouldn’t fint on the balcony, but thats the load-bearing capacity. It looks like water got through and rotted the wood over a period of time causing it to break apart.

          This accident would have happened eventually. Unfortunately it happened with a lot of people on the balcony. It had nothing to do with alcohol, or students doing something stupid. It was a horrible accident.

          1. ReproBertie

            Accidents don’t happen, they are caused. The water getting in to do the damage happened because something wasn’t done properly.

  2. Daisy Chainsaw

    Awful thing to happen, irrespective of the circumstances. Condolences to family and friends.

  3. the good helen

    it could be something as simple as them all taking a pic in the one area, its very sad and heart breaking. My thoughts are with their family and friends at the moment, its ok to be so tough for them. Specially being so far away from them.

  4. ahjayzis

    Rang my uncle to see if he’d heard from my J1ing cousin – he had both my parents on hold and incoming calls at the time. Looks like he’s not really near Berk but still waiting for him to wake up!

    F**king horrendous thing to happen, thoughts are with the families waiting to hear, I can’t think of much more horrific things to happen…

    1. Claire

      I hope your uncle hears news soon. Even knowing your cousin isn’t near, I’m sure he just wants to hear his voice at this stage.

    2. garthicus

      Same here, was waiting to hear from my 21YO cousin, just heard from her there, she’s fine. She’s waiting to hear if she knows anyone involved. Terrible stuff.

    3. St. John Smythe

      Yeah I just rang my cousin too. I mean, I know he’s in Boston, but you never know, he might have been involved.

      1. ahjayzis

        To bring the parents straight to the scene / bring the remains straight home I’d imagine.

          1. ahjayzis

            I’m just interpreting dh’s comment. I think his jist was that the government should be ready to do whatever they can for the families – and not that Charlie Flanagan is in anyway needed out there.

    1. neil

      We sold the Gulfstream IV, Learjet won’t get there without at least one stop, and carries max 7 passengers.

  5. Someone

    That’s awful. I know Berkley quite well, great party town for people in their early 20s. Often went out there with some other Irish guys when on my J1 14 years ago.

    Can’t imagine what the families and friends must be going through right now. Especially all those back home, the distance must be ferocious heart break.

    1. Bacchus

      surely some of that 13 could be on a balcony below or on the street? It’s possible.

      1. Gers

        I seen that between 12 and 14 were on the balcony, no one on balcony below. Very very sad regardless of the circumstances…

        1. Lush

          My brother in law is a civil engineer in the States. He says the balcony should have taken the weight, but from looking at the photos he believes the wood was not pressure-treated, water seeped in and it rotted.

          1. donthaveanafro

            Wood flooring in a balcony is a major no from the off. Would also say though that these size balconies generally are fitted off bedrooms with the intention of being an area for the one or two occupants of said bedroom to step out on to. The owners are culpable for not stressing this but no way should 13 people ever set foot on a balcony this size. That said, a threaded bar through the wall on both ends and a steel flooring and I can’t see how this could have happened. So sad.

  6. Murtles

    Very sad indeed and an absolute tragedy. Californias weather is warm and humid at most of times, it’s only natural to stand outside or near a door particularly if apartment was busy or if it had no air conditioning. Anyway there’s a lot of coulda shoulda woulda’s that can be discussed about how many were on balcony and why but it won’t bring those poor young ones back. We can only offer our sympathies to their families and friends.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      +1
      Nobody expects a balcony to be anything but robust. Their poor families. They probably said ‘mind yerself’ to the lads as they flew off to the States for adventure. I hope they, and the others at the party get all of the support they need.

  7. Mr. T.

    If anyone can stomach it, please help get Westboro Baptist Church off Twitter. They are tweeting the most offensive stuff re this tragedy.

    1. Parochial Central

      First, of all they are entitled to tweet what they want. It’s called First Amendment rights. Why shouldn’t they have the right to exercise it about an incident in their own country? Even the ACLU will support that.

      Secondly, why not express condolences rather that your YES Equality #stasi stripes?

  8. peterandrefan44

    in a strange and tragic irony news reports now say they were drinking orange “squash”

        1. ABM's Bloodied Underwear

          Really, I do sympathize with you. It must be hard going through life as an utter moron.

  9. Bertie Blenkinsop

    Newstalk are reporting that a sixth person has passed away.

    Desperate news.

  10. Peter Dempsey

    A tragedy. RIP to all.

    Anyone know where they were from? I have a sickening feeling that it’s Donegal.

    1. ReproBertie

      St. Mary’s College past pupils have posted on Facebook that many of those involved are past pupils from the 2012 class so Dublin South.

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