Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates called it an “incredible tragedy”.
He joined Ireland’s Consul General to the Western US at the site of a balcony collapse, which killed five Irish nationals and a Berkeley local.
“This has been a very tragic day for Ireland,” said Consul General Philip Grant. “I don’t think there is a family in Ireland that hasn’t been touched by the tragedy that happened here. I know there has been no equivalence ever in the history of Berkeley.”
A group of 13 were on the balcony when it fell to the ground, Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny said. They are believed to have been celebrating a 21st birthday on the balcony when they were plunged some 12 metres to the street below.
The five Irish men and women who lost their lives are believed to have been students, staying in the US on temporary work and travel visas.
Seven people who sustained serious injuries in the tragic incident are being treated in hospital.
Cause under investigation
The cause of the collapse is being investigated, although a local police chief says – until now – there has been no sign of criminal wrongdoing.
Flowers, photos and wreaths have been stacked outside the apartment building where the balcony collapsed.