On June 16, 2015, shortly after midnight, five Irish students having J-1 visas and one Irish-American student died while seven others were injured after the balcony on which they were standing collapsed taking them all with it. The balcony which collapsed was situated on the fifth floor of an apartment building at 2020 Kittredge Street in Berkeley, the former name being Library Gardens. The group was celebrating a 21st-year-old birthday named Aoife Beary.
The district attorney of Alameda County started an investigation to probe into the incident. In June 2015, Mayor Tom Bates of Berkeley made a promise to do an extensive investigation into the incident and to find the cause of the accident. The likeliest cause found was the balcony of the building was not constructed properly and had major flaws in it. Improper construction led to dry rot, which resulted in the balcony becoming structurally weak. All the evidence lead to the dry rot causing the collapse.
Ms. Beary, from Blackrock in south Dublin, was able to survive the fall but suffered some life-changing injuries. The injuries never left Ms. Beary the same again and she had after-effects of the tragedy these past years. She suffered a serious brain injury in the fall, along with broken bones and organ lacerations. She had to undergo open-heart surgery due to the fall.
Ms. Aoife Beary died in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin on Wednesday after suffering a stroke. The South Dublin GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) club Cuala paid tribute to the young woman who was studying at Oxford Brooks University in England in recent years. In a post on the internet, the club said:” It is with a heavy heart and great sadness we have to tell you that Aoife Beary passed away peacefully last night in Beaumont Hospital.”
The club passed on their condolences to the whole Cuala community to Mike, Angela, Tim, and Anna.