Irish student describes panic back home after Berkeley balcony collapses

BERKELEY (KRON) — A 21st birthday celebration turned deadly when 13 people plunged four stories to the street after a balcony ripped away from a Berkeley apartment building early Tuesday morning.

Four people died at the scene, two later died at the hospital.

Officials say that many of the victims are from Ireland and came to the United States for the summer on work visas.

RELATED | See a gallery of photos from the scene of the balcony collapse. 

“It is with great sadness that I confirm that a number of young Irish citizens have lost their lives while a number of others have been seriously injured following the collapse of a balcony in Berkeley, California earlier today,” said Irish Minister Charles Flanagan in a statement.

The downtown Berkeley apartment complex is home to numerous students from Ireland. One person said that many people in Ireland were in a state of a panic after hearing about the incident.

“Everyone back home is just in shock,” said Mark Neville. “My dad said it was the worst hour and a half of his life waiting for the call back saying I was safe.”

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