Sunday 25 June 2017

Irish couple suffer tragic loss as son (18) dies in New York balcony fall on St Patrick's Day

Conor Donnelly was at a fraternity house party when he fell to his death

Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

AN American college student, whose parents are both from Ireland, has tragically died after falling from the fourth floor of a balcony during St Patrick's Day celebrations.

Conor Donnelly (18), from Pearl River, New York was transported to hospital after the incident but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

He was at a fraternity house party and had attempted to climb to a third floor balcony from the fourth floor when he fell to his death, police confirmed.

His funeral is due to take place in New York today.

Mr Donnelly, whose dad is from Tyrone and his mother from Galway, was a first-year student at Binghamton University.

Reports say he was pledging at fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi at the time.

However, police said his death is being treated as accidental and was not as a result of 'hazing' - a controversial series of rituals used by frat houses to determine which first-year students can gain entry to their house.

In a statement, the fraternity said: "Alpha Sigma Phi is very saddened to learn of the passing of Conor Donnelly, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

"While police have determined his death to be an accident, we will continue to provide our full cooperation during the ongoing investigation. Additionally, a senior Alpha Sigma Phi staff member is now in Binghamton to provide support to members after the loss of their friend."

He is survived by his parents Martin and Carmel, and his siblings Denise and Declan.

Binghamton Police confirmed alcohol was a "contributing factor" in his death following a post-mortem.

Mr Donnelly was Senior Class President during his secondary school years and was described by friends as a "shy, but nice" guy.

Alana Prosapio told The Journal News that she remembers Donnelly being shy and quiet growing up. She said he spent his summers in Ireland.

"All of a sudden in high school, he blossomed," she said.

"He became our class president. He became the star of our grade. He wanted people to be happy. He put everybody first. He lived every day to his fullest."

His secondary school teacher described him as an "organiser".

"He would be the point person," he said.

"He was an organiser. He would be the guy who would get prom organised or the homecoming dance."

Numerous students were attending the party, which was being held in the midst of an unofficial St. Patrick's Day celebration by students.

Police said the incident happened at a "recognised" fraternity that does not have a history of nuisances or other notable problems.

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