Limo crash kills 20 people in upstate NY

The aftermath

A stretch limousine taking 18 people to a 30th birthday party in NY crashed on Saturday killing all the occupants, and two pedestrians, in the deadliest United States transportation accident in nearly a decade.

Police said Sunday that 20 people were killed in a two-vehicle crash on Saturday in upstate NY.

It is the deadliest transportation accident since February 2009, when Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo, New York, killing 50 people, Mr Sumwalt said.

The manager of the upstate NY store where a limousine crash killed 20 people says the site is a unsafe intersection that's been plagued by accidents.

Kirby said that Columbus Day weekend is the busiest weekend of the year for the store, and that it was packed.

NTSB Chair Robert Sumwalt appeared alongside officials Sunday afternoon, saying the crash is one of the worst incidents he's seen in his 12 years on the NTSB board.

The other 18 victims in Saturday's crash were in the limousine.

Personnel from the New York State Police, Schoharie County Sheriff's Office, as well as multiple fire and emergency medical services responded to the scene, law enforcement officials said.

The limo flew past the intersection and into the parking lot of a Apple Barrel Country Store.

"She was just such a pretty girl", Semprivivo said of his stepdaughter before hanging up.

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Federal investigators arrived on Sunday in the town, which is about 60 kilometres west of Albany, and were scouring the scene for clues about the cause of the crash.

Police didn't immediately release the names of those killed in the crash, pending notification of their families, and a press conference has been scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday. Two pedestrians standing nearby also were fatally struck, Fiore added.

Valerie Abeling said "our lives have been changed forever" after newlyweds Erin Vertucci and Shane McGowan were killed. The limo driver, all 17 passengers and the two pedestrians died.

"These were friends just starting their lives, getting married and this is how it ended", she said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement Sunday afternoon mourning the loss of the 20 individuals and commending first responders.

Relatives said the limousine was carrying the sisters and their friends to a 30th birthday celebration for the youngest. "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 hard time".

In that accident, the women were in a Lincoln Town Car that had been cut apart and rebuilt in a stretch configuration to accommodate more passengers.

The limousine had been speeding downhill before the crash.

He said authorities were able to figure out the limo's direction of travel and what occurred based on evidence found at the crash scene.

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