Four people killed at house party when balcony collapses in Angers, western France

Seven people remained in hospital after the accident on Saturday night

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The Independent Online

Four people have been killed and 14 others are injured after a third-floor balcony collapsed in Angers, western France. 

Local authorities said the accident happened on Saturday night during a house-warming party at an apartment in a recently constructed building. 

One of those injured is said to be in a serious condition and seven people remained hospitalised on Sunday afternoon, the Angers prosecutor Yves Gambert said. 

The victims were three men and a woman aged between 18 to 25. 

French media reported that two young women lived in the apartment and had invited their friends, who were mostly law students, over for the party. They were not among those injured.

Mr Gambert said around 30 people had gathered in the apartment for the party when the balcony "suddenly collapsed". 

One of the building's residents told Agence France Presse that they had suddenly heard a noise "like a landslide" then "shouting".

A building expert has been to the site to inspect the scene as an investigation has been launched to establish the cause of the collapse.

Michel Pichon, a doctor at the Angers teaching hospital, told broadcaster Franceinfo that the injured were all about 20 years old. 

Local mayor, Christophe Béchu, visited the site and said they could "only ask ourselves how such a terrible thing could have happened". 

He suggested that the balcony did not seem like it "could not accommodate 15 people under normal conditions".

He said residents would be housed elsewhere until a structural fault could be ruled out, the Guardian reported.

Additional reporting by AP