Frantic 911 calls have been released in a fatal California balcony collapse that claimed the lives of six people.
Six people fell to their deaths and eight more were injured when a fourth-floor balcony collapsed yesterday in Berkeley, Calif.
Most of the victims were students from Ireland, who were celebrating their friend’s 21st birthday. The deceased were identified as 22-year-old Ashley Donohoe, of California, and Ireland's Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcan Miller and Eimear Walsh.
Yesterday, crews removed the dangling wreckage, which landed upside-down on the third-floor balcony below it. The balcony stood for nine years before it collapsed.
Police had received a complaint about a loud party in the apartment about an hour before the mishap but were still on a different call when the metal-rail balcony gave way just after 12:30 a.m. It landed on the 4th-floor balcony just beneath it, leaving the pavement strewn with rubble and the red plastic cups that are standard at college parties.
Grace Kang, a structural engineer and spokeswoman for Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center at Berkeley, said the balcony's dimensions looked to her to be 4 feet by 6 feet, or 24 square feet.
That would mean the balcony should hold at least 1,440 pounds, a total that likely would have been exceeded by 13 adults. "They were packed like sardines, and then they were moving," she said. When people are moving it "may further exacerbate" the strain.
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