AOIFE BEARY, who survived the Berkeley balcony collapse in 2015, has told a California senate hearing that the tragedy should never have happened.
Six students died and seven were severely injured when a balcony collapsed at her 21st birthday last year.
Ms Beary, who suffered horrific injuries when she fell four storeys in the collapse, wept as she talked about how much she missed her friends at the hearing held yesterday (August 10).
“I miss my friends so much. I have known them since we started school together at four years of age. We had grown up together.
"Now my birthday will always be their anniversary,"
Alongside her friends, Ms Beary travelled to America on a J1 visa in the summer of 2015.
"My friends and I were so looking forward to our summer in Berkeley," she said.
“We had already travelled a lot and spent our summers together in Vancouver, Thailand and Vietnam since we had started college.
“I could never have imagined how it would have ended.”
The hearing into building standards also heard about the injuries she received, which included loosing teeth, breaking her arms, hands and pelvis and suffering a traumatic brain injury.
As a result of her injuries Ms Beary could not return to college.
"I have lost my independence and my career goals have stopped, I couldn't finish my final year in my college degree as I have been unable to return to college, my life has been changed forever," she told the hearing.
Berkeley survivor tells hearing about the effect the balcony collapse tragedy has had on her and the other familieshttps://t.co/FepV0htI72
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 10, 2016
Members of the senate were debating Bill 465, which, if passed, will further scrutinize building-related felonies and ensure any settlements relating to them might better serve the public.
The construction company behind the Library Gardens complex, where the tragedy occurred, had been involved in building defect settlements before the Berkeley tragedy.
At the hearing Ms Beary gave testimony alongside her mother Angela and also Jackie Donohoe, the mother of Ashley Donohoe, who died in the collapse.