Deadly Berkeley balcony collapse survivor speaks out

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- There was some emotional testimony Wednesday in Sacramento as lawmakers considered a bill that aims to prevent a repeat of the deadly Berkeley Balcony collapse from last year.

A young woman who spoke emotionally Wednesday was an Irish exchange student in Berkeley for the summer.

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Aoife Beary was celebrating turning 21 when the fourth floor balcony collapsed on Kittredge Street right off the UC Berkeley campus in June of last year.

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Six young people died, including Ashley Donohoe of Rohnert Park and five Irish students.

Their friend and survivor Beary told the Assembly Appropriations Committee Wednesday, due to her traumatic brain injury she can't go back to college. "I had lacerations to my liver, kidneys and spleen. I had a collapsed lung and broken ribs. I can't believe why you're even debating this bill. People died. You should ensure that all balconies are scrutinized in this state to prevent this from happening again," Beary said.

Senate Bill 465, co-sponsored by Sen. Jerry Hill of San Mateo would increase oversight of contractors.

Following the balcony collapse, officials learned the construction firm that built it had paid more than $26 million in building-related settlements in recent years.

The bill is actually a modified version of a proposal that was defeated last summer.

It must clear the committee by this Friday in order to move forward.

PHOTOS: Several killed in balcony collapse in Berkeley

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