Woman injured in Berkeley balcony collapse returns home

Aoife Beary had been treated in California hospital after tragedy that killed six

Aoife Beary, one of seven Irish students injured in the balcony collapse in Berkeley in June, has returned home to Ireland to continue the recovery from her injuries in Dublin.

Ms Beary flew home with her parents Mike and Angela and her brother and sister after being discharged from a hospital in Santa Clara, south of San Francisco, where she had been treated since July.

The young woman from Blackrock in Dublin is the fifth survivor of the Berkeley tragedy to return home.

Her return comes almost three months after the incident that killed five Dublin students on J-1 summer visas in California and an Irish-American woman.

The group were celebrating Ms Beary’s 21st birthday when the fourth-floor balcony at the Library Gardens apartment block on Kittredge Street collapsed at about 12.41am on June 16th.

Ms Beary returned on the overnight direct Aer Lingus flight from San Francisco that landed at Dublin Airport on Wednesday morning.

She attended a Dublin hospital to be checked by doctors following the long flight from the US before she moves to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire.

Ms Beary, who suffered a serious head injury in the fall, moved from a high dependency unit at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Centre to the hospital’s brain injury rehabilitation centre in early August. Her return to Ireland marks further progress on her road to recovery.

Prior to her return, Ms Beary was undergoing occupational and physical therapy and treatment on her speech and memory. She was reported over the weekend to have telephoned her grandmother in an emotional call home.

Two other students injured in Berkeley, Hannah Waters and Niall Murray, are continuing their treatment at the same hospital.

The tragedy in Berkeley claimed the lives of Dublin students Niccolai Schuster, Eoghan Culligan, Lorcán Miller, Eimear Walsh and Olivia Burke, and Ms Burke's Irish-American cousin Ashley Donohoe.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent