Aoife Beary, survivor of Berkeley’s balcony collapse, dies at 27

Beary was left with life-changing injuries after the balcony on the fourth floor of an apartment building in Berkeley, California collapsed and crashed 40 feet to the ground while she and her friends celebrated her 21st birthday.

Five of the six killed in the June 2015 incident were Irish students, all aged 21, and one was a 22-year-old Irish-American. Seven other people were injured.

On Sunday, Bearys alma mater, University College Dublin, confirmed that she was dead Saturday and expressed his “deepest sympathies to Aoife’s family and friends.”
Loreto College Foxrock, Beary’s former high school in south Dublin, also confirmed the 27-year-old was dead. tweeting: “It is with great sadness that we have heard of the death of our much-loved former student Aoife Beary. Our deepest sympathy is with the Beary family during this very difficult time.”

Beary, a Dubliner, and five of the six others killed in the collapse had worked in the United States on short-term visas – known as the J-1 summer work travel program – that Irish students can use to make a living. and works in an American city of his choice.

A 2015 report on the collapse showed that the balcony had due to a point of severe dry rot, which had affected the joists that supported the deck, and the balcony support also suffered from “other moisture damage”.

The apartment building was less than 10 years old at the time of the incident.

Beary was seriously injured in the collapse, and suffered severe brain damage, broken bones and organ wounds, according to the Irish Times. The newspaper also reported that Beary underwent open heart surgery after the fall.

Ireland in common: Who were the six killed in Berkeley's balcony collapse?

In 2016, she testified before lawmakers in the state of California during a hearing on a bill that would make construction companies more transparent. The bill was passed later that year.

No criminal charges were filed as a result of the tragedy, but the families of the victims reached a settlement with some of the companies involved in the construction, management and maintenance of the apartment block, according to the BBC.

In an interview with RTÉ Radio 1’s “Morning Ireland” program on Monday, one of Beary’s former university professors, Orina Belton, head of pharmacology at University College Dublin (UCD), praised her and said: “Aoife was truly an incredible student. .. After Berkeley, in the face of tragedy and the terrible events, Aoife became a true beacon of hope and courage in life and determination. “

CNN’s Amy Cassidy contributed to this report.


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