Longford students safe after US balcony collapse tragedy

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD, has described the death of five Irish students in California as a terrible tragedy. Photograph by Michael Nagle
Five Longford students have been accounted for following a fatal balcony collapse in northern California in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Five Longford students have been accounted for following a fatal balcony collapse in northern California in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

All five are believed to have been in the vicinity of the Library Gardens apartment complex when a balcony on the fourth floor collapsed, killing five and injuring several others.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed all five fatalities were Irish citizens.

Eight others who are also Irish suffered injuries, some of them life-threatening

Reports have emerged there was an Irish 21st birthday party taking place in the apartment at the time.

It’s not known if the Longford contingent who are in the area on a J1 visa were in attendance.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan and President Michael D Higgins have both spoken of their shock at the tragedy.

Mr Higgins said no words could describe the heartache being felt by the families and friends of those left behind.

Addressing members of the media at Leinster House, Mr Flanagan described the incident as a “terrible tragedy”.

He said: “This is a very challenging and difficult time for the families, for parents of those directly involved. It has been an appalling tragedy, an appalling loss of life.

More in tomorrow’s Longford Leader.