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Saturday 10 December 2016

Berkeley Tragedy: Father whose son died in US hit-and-run offers to bring home Berkeley balcony victims

Kevin Bell (26), who was killed in New York in a hit and run
Kevin Bell (26), who was killed in New York in a hit and run

The father of a young man killed in a hit-and-run in New York has offered to cover the cost of repatriating the six Irish students killed in the Berkeley balcony collapse.

Colin Bell, and his wife Eithne, have been helping other families repatriate the remains of their loved ones for more than two years following the tragic death of their son Kevin (26) in New York City in 2013.

No one has ever been charged with the death of their son, who was killed after he was hit by two vehicles at around 3:30am, on June 17.

Colin and Eithne Bell, from County Down, manage the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust and told RTE’s Liveline they had contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs to “tell the families that the funds are there to bring their children home.”

“When Kevin was killed, the people of Newry helped to raise a massive amount of money to him bring him home. We’ve been using it to help other families whose love ones have also died abroad,” said Mr Bell, who was speaking on the second anniversary of his son's death.

“The funds are available to help these families, and since Kevin’s death two years ago, we’ve brought 70 people home.”

The average cost of repatriating a body is about €5,900 said Mr Bell, but the further away the location, the more expensive it is.

“As we said at the time, with so many young people now abroad, Kevin's death would not be the last.”

Speaking about his son’s death, Mr Bell said he still felt the pain of his loss, adding “we know exactly what [these] parents are going through."

“Any time we hear of someone young dying abroad, it brings it back every time.

“At this stage, we’re not concerned with who did it, or getting justice. We just want to move on from it.”

The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust offers financial assistance to bereaved families to repatriate the body of loved ones who die abroad in sudden or tragic circumstances.

For those interested in donating, visit here.

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