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Irish students among six dead in California balcony collapse.

Washington, Sha'ban 30, 1436, June 17, 2015, SPA -- The death toll stands at six in the early Tuesday

collapse of a fourth-storey balcony that killed and injured Irish

students in Berkeley, California, according to the local coroner's

office, dpa reported.

The students were apparently celebrating a 21st birthday of one of

their number.

A person in the coroner's office said he could not confirm the

national identity of the dead, and told dpa that he could not share

information about the injured and dead until families are notified.

In Dublin, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny told Parliament that,

based on information from California police, there were 13 people on

the balcony at the time of the collapse. Kenny said "current

information suggests all of those are Irish," Britain's PA Press

Association reported.

"My heart breaks for the parents who lost children this morning and

I can only imagine the fear in the hearts of other parents whose

children are in California this summer as they seek to contact them

now," he said.

There were no immediate details of how the incident occurred. Police

are investigating the cause for the collapse at the Library Gardens

apartment complex, which was built in 2006.

Pictures have shown the fourth-story balcony to have broken off from

the building. Part landed on the third-floor balcony below and part

landed in the street.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan confirmed that the

Irish students were in the US for the summer on J1 visas, a

non-immigrant document issued to participants in exchange programmes.

He said that the accident occurred during a 21st birthday

celebration.

"It's an appalling tragedy, an appalling loss of life for young

people whose hopes and dreams of the future have suddenly and without

notice been shattered," he said.

Hospitals at Berkeley and nearby Oakland and Walnut Creek were

treating the injured while several fire crews responded to the

collapse, news reports said.

The foreign ministry said the Irish consul in San Francisco was in

close contact with US authorities.

Alamada County, where the incident happened, plans to hold a

press conference once all the families of those killed and injured

have been notified.

--SPA

01:20 LOCAL TIME 22:20 GMT

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Publication:Saudi Press Agency (SPA)
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Jun 16, 2015
Words:383
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