Wednesday 13 December 2017

Formal investigation launched into tragic Berkeley balcony collapse

*Decision made late yesterday evening
*Local authority and police earlier confirmed no investigation
*Incident left six students dead and seven injured
*Final Irish funeral later today for victim Lorcán Miller

Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

A formal investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the balcony collapse in Berkeley.

The news comes after Berkeley Police Department confirmed no criminal investigation yesterday and the City of Berkeley concluded in its report that dry rot was to blame for the balcony collapse.

The City of Berkeley confirmed that no person or entity is being investigated, and that city officials had closed their investigation.

The authority said that actions were the only recourse available to those involved in the tragedy.

However, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office made the decision to launch an investigation late yesterday evening after a brief initial assessment of the incident.

And, despite declaring their examinations to be finished, the City of Berkeley local authority and the Berkeley Police Department are now cooperating with the formal investigation, according to RTE.

Olivia Burke
Olivia Burke
Lorcan Miller
Eimear Walsh
Ashley Donohue
Eoghan Culligan - Age: 21 From: Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 School: St Mary’s College, Rathmines Studying: Logistics, DIT
Niccolai Schuster (right)

District Attorney Nancy O'Malley will share the details of the official investigation later this afternoon, but it is expected to focus on the building company, the subcontractors and the landlords.

Read more: 'A magical son who was like a space rocket going through his life'

DA O’Malley has a team of about 60 investigators to look into the cause of the balcony collapse that left fives Irish students and an Irish-American student dead, as well as seven Irish students injured.

The funerals of the tragic victims have been taking place this week, with the funeral of Lorcán Miller to take place this morning.

The balcony in Berkeley that collapsed
The balcony in Berkeley that collapsed

Regarding the injured students, Sean Fahey has already travelled home to Ireland and is recovering from his injuries.

A second student, Conor Flynn, has also been discharged from hospital but cannot fly home for another couple of weeks. He is spending the next few weeks in the San Francisco Bay area as he awaits his trip home.

A worker measures near the remaining wood from an apartment building balcony that collapsed in Berkeley
A worker measures near the remaining wood from an apartment building balcony that collapsed in Berkeley

Niall Murray and Clodagh Cogley have left hospitals but have moved into facilities that are better suited to cater for their injuries.

Jack Halpin remains in hospital and both Aoife Beary and Hannah Waters remain in a critical condition in hospital.

Berkeley Tragedy Victims' Fund

The Irish Immigration Pastoral Centre in San Francisco has set up an online account to raise funds for the students affected by this tragedy and to assist the immediate needs of their families.

Click here to make a donation to the fund

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