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How Mom died after a balcony collapsed while she took a photo at her Christmas work party

Tragic mother died in horror balcony collapse after 30 of her colleagues ran outside to take a group photo at a Tupperware Christmas working party

  • Mother Cheryl Taylor, 59, died when a balcony collapsed in December 2017
  • She attended a Christmas party for Tupperware staff in northeast Melbourne
  • Fellow manager Sarah Kajoba, 37, also died, and 26 other guests were injured
  • The balcony collapsed after colleagues gathered to take a group photo
  • It is being investigated whether the balcony meets the safety permits

A mother was killed in a horrific balcony collapse after her colleagues rushed to take a group photo.

Cheryl Taylor, 59, died when a balcony in a house in Doncaster, north-east Melbourne, gave way in December 2017 under the weight of more than 30 Christmas guests.

She had enjoyed Tupperware’s staff party from a lounge chair in the middle of the balcony with fellow manager Sarah Kajoba, 37, when they plunged 2.7 meters into a paved area below.

Cheryl Taylor (photo right with daughter Melissa left), 59, died when a balcony collapsed during a Christmas holiday in northeast Melbourne in December 2017

Cheryl Taylor (photo right with daughter Melissa left), 59, died when a balcony collapsed during a Christmas holiday in northeast Melbourne in December 2017

Ms. Taylor (pictured) sat on a lounge chair in the center of the deck when about 30 guests and Tupperware colleagues attempted to take a group photo and the balcony burst

Ms. Taylor (pictured) sat on a lounge chair in the center of the deck when about 30 guests and Tupperware colleagues attempted to take a group photo and the balcony burst

Ms. Taylor (pictured) sat on a lounge chair in the center of the deck when about 30 guests and Tupperware colleagues attempted to take a group photo and the balcony burst

Guests reported a cracking noise for a “moment of hanging” when the six-foot-wide section of the balcony broke and when it fell to the floor.

Ms. Taylor died on the spot while Ms. Kajoba was taken to hospital with catastrophic and ultimately fatal injuries.

Ms. Taylor’s daughter Melissa posted a photo of them on Facebook and paid tribute to her mother, captioned, “There is a light and it never goes out.”

Ambulance Victoria said it was forced to activate its major contingency plan to deal with the incident appropriately, turning the entire suburban street into a makeshift emergency room.

There were 17 people who were taken to hospital with varying injuries, and 12 were treated on the spot.

Ambulance Victoria said 10 women and seven men between the ages of 20 and 69 suffered injuries, fractures and soft tissue cuts and were transported to Box Hill, Austin and Maroondah hospitals.

Tupperware manager Sarah Kajoba, 37, also died, and 26 other guests were injured after the balcony near the Doncaster house collapsed (photo)

Tupperware manager Sarah Kajoba, 37, also died, and 26 other guests were injured after the balcony near the Doncaster house collapsed (photo)

Tupperware manager Sarah Kajoba, 37, also died, and 26 other guests were injured after the balcony near the Doncaster house collapsed (photo)

It is being investigated whether the balcony (photo) meets the safety permits

It is being investigated whether the balcony (photo) meets the safety permits

It is being investigated whether the balcony (photo) meets the safety permits

It is now being investigated whether the original balcony was suitable for occupancy and whether the balcony in enlarged condition complied with the permits and the feasibility of an assessment system for balconies.

Manningham Council construction expert Russell Mills said the balcony, built in the mid-1980s, did not meet original building permits and changes had been made since then.

Floor beams ran in the opposite direction to the one on the approved plan, a staircase was built at the back of the deck and a porch above it.

Pictured: Victoria Police investigate Doncaster East's home in December 2017

Pictured: Victoria Police investigate Doncaster East's home in December 2017

Pictured: Victoria Police investigate Doncaster East’s home in December 2017

The area under the deck had also been excavated.

“A number of defects and age-related deficiencies were found, including weathering and decay of structural parts,” he said.

The party hosts rented the Doncaster East estate.

The owner has since followed through on orders to replace the balcony, and police have heard that the owner is getting quotes to completely demolish the property.

Three other experts will testify during the investigation for coroner Paresa Spanos, who saw the balcony the day after the collapse.

The injured plan to seek compensation, and lawyer Lily Boskovski, who represents six of the 17 injured, says the psychological scars are not to be underestimated.

“They saw their colleagues die. I can’t even imagine what it could be like to enjoy a party for a minute and then save yourself from dying, ”she told AAP last year.

Ambulance Victoria said 10 women and seven men between 20 and 69 years old suffered injuries, fractures and soft tissue cuts

Ambulance Victoria said 10 women and seven men between 20 and 69 years old suffered injuries, fractures and soft tissue cuts

Ambulance Victoria said 10 women and seven men between 20 and 69 years old suffered injuries, fractures and soft tissue cuts

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