Irish woman who sustained life-changing injuries from California balcony collapse in 2015 dies aged 27

Aiofe Beary, who had survived the tragic 2015 Berkeley balcony collapse, has died after suffering a stroke in Dublin, Ireland.

In 2015, she was one of the 13 people celebrating her 21st birthday on the fourth-floor balcony of a building in California when it collapsed. They were on a J1 summer working visa programme to the US.

Six of Beary’s friends died in the accident and she was left with life-changing injuries. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, lacerations on her organs, lost all her teeth and had to undergo open-heart surgery as well.

Beary suffered a stroke on Wednesday last week and died at the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin on Saturday night.

As soon as the news of her passing circulated, tributes started pouring in for the “brave” survivor.

Her former school, Loreto College Foxrock, called her a “much-loved past pupil” in a statement.

In recent years, she had been studying at Oxford Brookes University in England.

University College Dublin Student Union also offered its condolences to the Beary family. Beary was studying pharmacology at University College Dublin at the time of the tragedy.

The Irish Mirror quoted the then Dean of Science, Prof Joe Carthy as saying that “Aoife dealt with the devastating impact of her accident with great bravery and fortitude. She was awarded a BSc in Pharmacology in 2016. She will be greatly missed by her family and a wide circle of friends.”

“I know Aoife’s passing will rekindle memories of the six students who died in the Berkeley accident in June 2015 and our thoughts are with their families too,” he added.

After the fall from the balcony that was later found to have dry rotting joists supporting the deck and was built by a company with a history of complaints, five 21-year-old Irish students — Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcan Miller, Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke and one 22-year-old Irish-American Ashley Donohoe — died.

Beary, from the Blackrock suburb in Dublin, later became an advocate for stricter construction reforms in California.

During an emotional speech in 2016, she addressed US lawmakers and said: “Some of my injuries will be with me for the rest of my life.” She added: “I miss my friends I have known since we started school together at four years of age. We grew up together and now my birthday will always be their anniversary.”

The US Embassy in Dublin also extended condolences to the Beary family yesterday.

Charlie Flanagan, who was the Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time of the balcony collapse, also offered his sympathies to her family. He said: “This tragedy has marred so many families forever.”

In 2017, the families of six people killed and those injured in the California balcony collapse reached a confidential settlement with the companies that were involved in the construction of the building.

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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