Berkeley tragedy: Injured Aoife Beary 'starts to communicate with her parents'
ONE of the survivors of the Berkeley balcony collapse has started to communicate with her parents - more than three weeks after the tragedy in which six Irish students died.
Aoife Beary, from Blackrock in Dublin, is still in the intensive care unit of a medical facility in California - but has been taken off the critical list.
She was celebrating her 21st birthday with friends at her apartment in Library Gardens at the time of the collapse.
Those who lost their lives were Lorcán Miller, Eimear Walsh, Niccolai Schuster, cousins Olivia Burke and Ashely Donohoe and Eoghan Culligan.
She has started some communication with her parents and medical team at the Stanford Medical Centre in Palo Alto near San Francisco.
A statement last night said that Aoife has slowly started to awaken from the induced coma but the process is expected to take some time.
“She has had a tracheotomy within the last week and continues to make progress on her long road to recovery,” said the statement on the Friends of Aoife Beary Facebook page.
Earlier this week the Beary family were said to be overwhelmed by the support and best wishes they had received for Aoife and themselves since the balcony collapse.
“She has made steady progress over the last number of days, and both her medical team and parents are optimistic that she will make a good recovery,” said the statement.
“This will be a long and slow road to recovery over many months to come.”
She underwent successful heart surgery on 26 June.
It is expected that her parents Mike and Angela will remain at her bedside for the foreseeable future, and the family are currently making arrangements for Aoife's sister Anna and brother Tim to travel to Stanford to join them.
Aoife was one of seven students injured in the incident.
The former Loreto College Foxrock student is one of five of the seven students injured in the collapse still being treated in hospital.
Two of the students have been discharged but one is unable to fly and remains in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Conor Flynn (22) was discharged from hospital two weeks ago but is unable to fly due to a punctured lung, while Sean Fahey (22) has already returned to Ireland.
Hannah Waters (21), from Castleknock, and Clodagh Cogley (21) from Milltown, are both under going rehabilitation for the injuries they received.
Niall Murray (21), from Rathfarnham and Jack Halpin (21), from Rathmines are also still receiving treatment in hospitals in San Francisco.