Monday 20 November 2017

‘Unimaginable terror of Berkeley victims’

Balcony tragedy that killed six happened after contractors cut corners to save costs, court told

Debris scattered on the pavement after the balcony collapse. Photo: REUTERS
Debris scattered on the pavement after the balcony collapse. Photo: REUTERS
The six students who lost their lives in the tragic accident, top left to bottom right: Lorcan Miller, Eoghan Culligan, Nick Schuster, Ashley Donohoe, Eimear Walsh and Olivia Burke
Berkeley court filings
Berkeley court papers
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The "unimaginable terror" of the Berkeley balcony collapse victims is laid bare in legal papers which claim contractors cut corners to save building costs.

Legal papers filed with a US court reveal a harrowing account of the night last summer when a joyous party for J1 students in California ended with the deaths of six people.

"None of the victims had any reason to know or suspect that a catastrophe was imminent," the account reads.

"Suddenly, and without warning, the balcony broke loose from the building, tumbled down and struck the third-floor balcony directly below it.

"The mechanics of the failure hurled the 13 students on to the cement sidewalk and asphalt pavement 40ft below."

Six students were killed in the tragedy, while others suffered injuries that will affect them for the rest of their lives.

"The unimaginable terror that each victim experienced during the fall was eclipsed by the carnage on the ground," the account continues.

Lawyers also claim that corners were cut to save costs. It is alleged the management company for the building, Greystar, ignored a "red flag" when students who rented the apartment complained about the presence of mushrooms growing on the balcony.

Legal cases for personal injuries have been lodged by Niall Murray, Aoife Beary, Clodagh Cogley, Sean Fahey, Conor Flynn, Jack Halpin and Hannah Waters.

These cases are set to be combined and heard together in the New Year.

Irish Independent

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