20 dead after crash involving wedding limo in NY


Twenty people have been killed in a limousine crash in NY state, police confirmed Sunday, with local media reporting that it slammed into a crowd of pedestrians at a country store.

The crash occurred just before 2pm on Saturday afternoon (local time) in Schoharie, about 60km west of Albany, on Route 30.

A limousine headed to a birthday party was going up to 60 miles per hour when it blew through a T intersection, killed two pedestrians, hit a parked vehicle and flew into a ditch, splintering trees and flinging bodies as all 18 people on board were killed Saturday in upstate NY, witnesses said.

Twenty people are dead, state police confirmed, after a crash that reportedly involved a wedding limousine in upstate NY.

Relatives said the limousine was carrying four sisters and their friends to a 30th birthday celebration for the youngest sibling.

Officials say Saturday's crash in Schoharie (sko-HAYR'-ee) was the deadliest transportation accident in the US since a 2009 plane crash in Buffalo, New York, killed 50 people.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his "heart breaks" for the victims, adding that he's directed state agencies to help with the investigation.

Listen to the Sunday afternoon press conference involving New York State Police and the National Transportation Safety Board regarding Saturday's fatal crash in Schoharie, NY.

"I don't want to describe the scene", Kirby told the newspaper.

Robert Sumwalt from the NTSB said: "Twenty fatalities is horrific. this is one of the biggest losses of lives that we have seen in a long, long time".

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The Schoharie Central School District said in a Sunday statement none of its students or staff were victims of the accident, but counselors will be on hand when students return Tuesday after the Columbus Day holiday.

State Police said the 2001 Ford Excursion limousine barrelled down one roadway and passed through the T-intersection, crashing into another vehicle, an unoccupied 2015 Toyota Highlander, before landing in a shallow ravine beyond the road.

The Schoharie County Sheriff's Office, New York state police and emergency crews from the Red Cross all responded to the scene.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, the Apple Barrel Country Store thanked emergency responders for their actions in the aftermath of the "horrific" accident.

"They are the heroes of our small community", the post said.

New York State Police is not releasing the identities of those killed until officials notify next of kin.

Valerie Abeling told The Associated Press that her 34-year-old niece Erin Vertucci and her newlywed husband were among them. Two pedestrians standing near the SUV were also killed. So were two pedestrians in the quiet town of Schoharie.

They were in a Lincoln Town Car that had been cut apart and rebuilt in a stretch configuration to accommodate more passengers.

Axel and Amy, who live in Amsterdam, N.Y., and were married over the summer, were the ones who rented the limousine, he said.

A large presence of first responders, including six ambulances, three fire trucks, and two helicopters attended the scene, with many of those injured being flown out to the local hospital.