A stretch limo slammed into a parked car in New York, killing all passengers and two pedestrians. The massive crash has been described as the most deadly transportation accident in the US for nearly a decade.
A total of 20 people were killed over the weekend in the US state of New York after an SUV-style limousine careened out of control, local police said on Sunday.
On Saturday afternoon, a 2001 Ford Excursion limousine failed to stop at an intersection at the end of a highway in the town of Schoharie. The limo then veered into a parking lot where it then struck a parked, unoccupied, SUV before coming to a halt in the woods.
All 18 people inside the stretch limo, including the driver, were killed. Two pedestrians were also killed in the accident, local authorities said.
The crash occurred outside the Appel Barrel Country Store and Cafe, a popular spot for tourists who come to view the region's fall foliage. Witnesses described a horrific scene following the crash, with people screaming and several bodies on the ground.
The store's manager, Jessica Kirby, told The New York Times that the limousine was going "probably over 60 mph" (97 kmh) when it came down a hill where the crash took place.
A relative of one of the victims said that the people in the limousine were traveling to a birthday party when the crash occurred.
Police said they are still investigating the cause of the crash and did not comment on the speed of the limousine. Authorities have not yet released the names of the victims, although they've set up a hotline for family members.
"Twenty fatalities is horrific," National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman Robert Sumwalt told reporters at a press conference on Sunday.
He added that the limousine accident is the most deadly transportation accident to occur in the United States since a 2009 plane crash in upstate New York that killed 49 people.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo offered his condolences in a statement, saying that he'd asked state agencies to help in determining what caused the crash.
"My heart breaks for the 20 people who lost their lives in this horrific accident on Saturday in Schoharie," he said.
More than 37,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the US in 2017, according to federal data. Questions have been raised before about safety issues with stretch limousine vehicles.
rs/aw (AP, AFP)