Twenty people tragically die in New York limo crash while on their way to a birthday party
This weekend, 20 people died in a limousine crash in Schoharie, New York. All 17 passengers in the limo died along with the driver and two pedestrians when the vehicle failed to stop at an intersection. The car had been on its way to a birthday party at the time of the incident, and many of those on board were all members of the same family.
The group had been celebrating the 30th birthday of Amy Steenburg, one of the victims of the accident. Heartbreakingly, Steenburg's three sisters, husband, and brother-in-law also perished in the accident - the exact cause of which has not yet been determined.
"The investigation at the scene revealed a 2001 Ford Expedition limousine failed to stop at an intersection," said Christopher Fiore, first deputy superintendent of the New York State Police, at a press conference yesterday.
The crash is reportedly the worst US transportation accident since February 2009, at which time 50 people were killed in a plane crash near Buffalo, New York.
After speeding through the intersection at an estimated 60mph on Saturday, the limousine crashed into an unoccupied vehicle in the car park of the Apple Barrel Country Store and struck two people.
Yesterday, the store posted about the accident on their Facebook page.
"Yes, are open today. And could use your hugs. Donations are be accepted for our local emergency services," they wrote. "We are doing our best to cope and grieve. We are a big family at the Apple Barrel, and part of the bigger family of Schoharie. We cope by being together. And that is why we are open."
Barbara Douglas, who lost four nieces in the crash, told reporters that the family had chosen to take the limo so that they wouldn't have to drink and drive.
"They were very close to each other and they loved their family and their parents," she said. "They did the responsible thing, getting a limo so they wouldn't have to drive anywhere."
Three children have been orphaned due to the crash, and the four sisters leave behind one other sister and two brothers.
One of the brothers, Tom King, spoke about the devastation caused to his family. "They were the Four Musketeers. We all are what’s left," he said.
Other reports have said that the victims were originally meant to take a bus, but arranged to travel by limousine at the last minute when their original plans fell through.
Last night, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that state agencies would endeavour to provide "every resource necessary" in order to investigate what actually caused the fatal accident.
"My heart breaks for the 20 people who lost their lives in this horrific accident," he said. "I join all New Yorkers in mourning these deaths and share in the unspeakable sorrow experienced by their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time."
"These were young couples, just got married and had their whole lives ahead of them," said Victoria Abeling, another aunt of the four sisters that were killed.
"My family is just going through a lot," she continued. "It's a horrible tragedy and there's no words to describe how we feel."
Our thoughts are with those affected by the tragedy at this terrible time, and we hope that the investigation will reveal the cause of the accident.