BERKELEY, Calif. — An apartment balcony near the University of California’s Berkeley campus collapsed early Tuesday, killing five of the 13 people who fell from the fourth-floor structure, the city’s police said.
Those who fell from the balcony at the Library Gardens Apartments were all Irish citizens and “for the most part students,” gathered to celebrate someone’s 21st birthday, Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said Tuesday.
Besides those who died, at least seven were taken to hospitals with serious injuries after the balcony gave way at about 12:40 a.m., Berkeley police Officer Byron White told CNN.
Jennifer Coats, a Berkeley police spokeswoman, said it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the balcony to collapse.
California authorities have contacted some of the families in Ireland about the collapse, Flanagan said.
Flanagan offered his condolences to the victims’ relatives in a statement released by his office. He said his department would provide consular assistance to the Irish citizens involved.
Irish President Michael Higgins expressed “greatest sadness,” saying he learned of the incident while on an official visit to Italy.
“My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of all those involved,” Higgins said.