Six young Irish people have sadly died following a balcony collapse at an apartment block in Berkeley northern California.
It is understood the five victims were J1 students who were staying at the apartment when the balcony suddenly collapsed, reports suggest that the students were celebrating a 21st Birthday party when the tragic incident happened. Berkeley police say four people died instantly at the scene, whilst a two more students sadly died later in hospital. It is also believed that a number of other Irish students have been taken to hospital with severe and possible life-threatening injuries.
A spokeswoman for Berkeley Police Department Jennifer Coats, has said police are currently working with the Berkeley fire department and city officials to determine what caused the sudden collapse.
Meanwhile Charlie Flanagan the Minister for Foreign Irish Affairs has confirmed that the department is awaiting confirmation of identities, but has revealed that some of the victims families had already been notified. Mr Flanagan also said he had opened the department’s Consular Crisis Centre and activated its emergency response line so it could provide assistance and guidance to the families of those affected and to others who had concerns.
He added that the Irish Consul General in San Francisco was in close contact with the authorities and would also be providing assistance.
Anyone who is affected by the tragic incident can contact The Department of Foreign Affairs helpline on +353-1-4180200.