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Berkeley balcony plunge tragedy: criminal probe launched

Prosecutors in the San Francisco Bay Area have said they will lead a criminal investigation into the Berkeley balcony collapse that killed six college students, including five from Ireland.

Berkeley police will help with the inquiry, the Alameda County district attorney's office told the Oakland Tribune.

The development comes two days after building inspectors said the fifth-floor balcony that snapped off an apartment building was supported by wooden beams badly rotted by exposure to moisture.

Five of the students who died on June 16 were from Ireland and working in the Bay Area for the summer. Seven others were seriously injured and remain in hospital.

It is unclear who the inquiry would target but personal injury lawyer Michael A Kelly told the newspaper that criminal charges could range from negligence or recklessness to manslaughter.

Further reading

Berkeley balcony collapsed due to dry rot, US investigators confirm  

Massive grief for young lives lost in US, mourners told

Funerals for tragic victims Niccolai Schuster and Olivia Burke

Balcony victim Lorcan laid to rest

Belfast pays its respects to Berkeley balcony fall students

Berkeley balcony collapse survivors remain in hospital

Builders paid $3m to settle lawsuit over 'shoddy construction on apartment balconies that led to rot'

Mayor of Californian city says 'wood had not been sealed properly'

Newry father whose son died in US hit-and-run offers to repatriate victims

Irish US ambassador writes to New York Times over 'despicable' coverage of tragedy

Six Irish students who died in Berkeley, California are named

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