Authorities say that five people have died after a fourth floor apartment balcony collapsed early this morning. At least eight others were injured, and "Many of the injured have critical, life-threatening wounds." Update: One of the injured victims has died, bringing the death toll to six. Berkeleyside reports that they've all now been identified: "Ashley Donohoe, 22, from Rohnert Park; and Oliva Burke, Eimeair Walsh, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, and Lorcan Miller, all 21 years old and from Ireland."
The incident occurred at 2020 Kittredge Street, just a few blocks from the U.C. Berkeley campus. Police responded after receiving a call at 12:41 a.m. and found the balcony has "disintegrated." According to SFGate, "Double French doors led from the building to the balcony. Shredded wood and insulation was visible where the balcony had been attached. The structure itself landed on the third-floor balcony below."
Berkeley police spokeswoman Jennifer Coats said, "It looks like it may have collapsed from the fourth floor and then struck the third floor balcony, which is below it, but we don't know specifically how it happened at this point. That will all be part of the investigation." Apparently 12-14 people were on the balcony when it collapsed, and KGO reports, "The victims were celebrating a 21st birthday when the collapse happened."
Four people were declared dead at the scene, while a fifth died at the hospital. The Irish Foreign Ministry issued a statement, "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... It is too early to know the full extent of this dreadful accident but I have opened my Department’s Consular Crisis Centre and activated our emergency response line so we can provide assistance and guidance to the families of those affected and to others who have concerns."
It's believed the Irish citizens were here for a summer work-exchange program.
Update: A second victim died at the hospital.
And here's 911 audio from the incident: