Berkeley tragedy court case told of "carnage on the ground" after "unimaginable terror"
Legal papers filed with a US court in connection with the Berkeley balcony collapse have detail the horrific events of the tragedy.
Five Irish J1 students and an Irish-American from California died at a party when a third-floor balcony they were standing on collapsed in Berkeley, California in July of this year.
The families of the six – Ashley Donohue, Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster and Lorcan Miller – are taking legal action against a total 35 defendants involved in the management and construction of the building where the collapse occurred for wrongful death.
Legal cases for personal injuries have been lodged by Niall Murray, Aoife Beary, Clodagh Cogley, Sean Fahey, Conor Flynn, Jack Halpin and Hannah Waters.
"None of the victims had any reason to know or suspect that a catastrophe was imminent," the court account reads.
"Suddenly, and without warning, the balcony broke loose from the building, tumbled down and struck the third-floor balcony directly below it.
"The mechanics of the failure hurled the 13 students on to the cement sidewalk and asphalt pavement 40ft below."
The six young students who lost their lives at Berkeley
"The unimaginable terror that each victim experienced during the fall was eclipsed by the carnage on the ground," the account continues.
Lawyers also claim that corners were cut to save costs. It is alleged the management company for the building, Greystar, ignored a "red flag" warning when students who rented the apartment complained about the presence of mushrooms growing on the balcony.
These cases are set to be combined and heard together in the New Year.