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Five students die in Berkeley tragedy

FIVE Irish students died in the US in the early hours of the morning (9am in Ireland) when an apartment balcony collapsed in Berkeley, California. Several others were brought to local hospitals. The city is among the many places in the San Francisco Bay area where the Irish gravitate for work under the J1Visa programe. An emergency contact number – 01 4180200 – has been set up for anybody who wants to make enquiries about family and friends in the general area. A considerable number of young people from County Clare are currently in San Francisco but, at this stage, there is not indication as to whether any were caught up in the tragedy, which occurred during a 21st birthday party on the fourth floor of the building, which is close to the university. The balcony, estimated to have been 5 feet by 10 feet, separated completely from the building and landed on a lower balcony. President Michael D Higgins …

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