Four killed after balcony collapses during housewarming party in France

The Guardian

2389Three men in their 20s and 18-year-old woman die in incident at student housewarming in city of Angers

Four French partygoers have died and several others have been seriously injured after a balcony at the housewarming they were attending collapsed, plunging more than nine metres to the ground.

The accident happened late on Saturday in Angers, a city in western France.Police said the dead and injured were all in their early 20s and were mostly students.

It was later confirmed the four who died were three men aged 21, 23 and 25 and an 18-year-old woman. The 14 people injured – four of them seriously – are aged between 18 and 27.

Europe1 radio said 18 people were on the balcony when it collapsed at about 11pm. As it fell, the structure smashed off two lower floor balconies. The building was said to have been built within the last 15 years.

Michel Pichon, director at Angers hospital, said 11 people were admitted for treatment and several had serious but not life-threatening injures.

The local prefect, Béatrice Abollivier, told France Info: “It’s a recent building and the balcony was on the third floor.” She said no details were being given of the victims but they were all young people.

Fire services evacuated other residents of the building on Sunday.

Christophe Béchu, the local mayor, said after visiting the scene of the tragedy: “We can only ask ourselves how such a terrible thing could have happened.”

Béchu said experts were examining the building and other residents would be housed elsewhere until a structural fault had been ruled out.

An inquiry has been opened into manslaughter and accidental injury.

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