Berkeley Balcony Collapse Kills Six, Injures Seven

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Six people died and seven others were wounded when a fourth-floor balcony collapsed early Tuesday in Berkeley, California, according to authorities.

Five of the dead were Irish nationals, as were some of the injured, according to the Irish government, which indicated that some, if not all, of the victims were Irish students on temporary work visas.

Police were unable to confirm what sort of gathering was taking place at the apartment, saying only that a call came in just before 1 a.m. (4 a.m. ET) about a balcony collapse. Two women at the scene told NBC Bay Area that a number of people were gathered in the apartment for a 21st birthday party. 

Thirteen people fell from the balcony and four were pronounced dead at the scene, according to Berkeley Police spokesman Bryon White. One person died at the hospital, White said. A second person died later Tuesday morning, according to the Alameda County Coroner’s Office.

Another seven were being treated for serious injuries, according to police.

White said police received a call about a noise disturbance at the apartment about 40 minutes before they were notified of the collapse.

Authorities were working to determine what caused the collapse, White added. 

Earlier, Berkeley Police spokeswoman Jennifer Coats told NBC News the balcony fell to the sidewalk from the top of a four-story building. She said Berkeley Fire Department and city officials responded to the scene and had secured the area around the collapse.

Neighbor Gerald Robinson said he didn’t know the people who lived in the apartment, but he took two people to the hospital after “desperate students” needed a ride. He told NBC Bay Area that the victims were unaware of the deaths at the time.

“The kids there have no idea what’s happened,” he said.

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