20 dead in limousine crash in NY state

Emergency vehicles outside the Apple Barrel Country Store in Schoharie, New York, on Oct 6, 2018.
Emergency vehicles outside the Apple Barrel Country Store in Schoharie, New York, on Oct 6, 2018. PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK • A two-vehicle collision involving a limousine has left 20 dead in upstate New York, the New York State Police said yesterday. Federal investigators were heading to the scene.

Local reports said the limousine was carrying a wedding party when it collided with another vehicle outside the Apple Barrel Country Store in Schoharie, New York, last Saturday afternoon local time.

Ms Jessica Kirby, 36, the manager of the Apple Barrel Country Store, said multiple customers in the carpark were killed when they were hit by the limousine as it sped down the hill on Route 30.

"All fatal," she said in a phone interview. "That limo was coming down that hill probably over 60mph (100kmh)."

"I don't want to describe the scene," she added. "It's not something I want to think about."

Ms Kirby said that Columbus Day weekend is the busiest weekend of the year for the store, and that it was packed. Most of her customers had arrived from New York City, New Jersey or Albany, she said.

"A lot of people from New York City come up and they do the country things, the apple picking and the sort," she said.

The state police said in a statement that "the names of the victims are not being released at this time as next of kin are being notified".

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to investigate, a spokesman said.

Ms Kirby said she was inside the store when she heard the loud bang. She rushed out and immediately called 911.

"We've heard accidents before," she said. "You know that sound when it happens."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2018, with the headline '20 dead in limousine crash in NY state'. Print Edition | Subscribe