ROSARIO (Argentina) • Their big trip to New York had been decades in the making.
Thirty years ago, when they were still high school students in this industrial city in Argentina, 10 young men promised to celebrate their reunion somewhere in style.
The friends eventually settled on New York, but the cost was too high.
So Mr Ariel Erlij, 48 - one of five Argentines killed in the terrorist attack on Tuesday in Lower Manhattan - did not think twice before helping to pay for flights, friends said.
Then, the unimaginable happened. A motorist mowed down cyclists and pedestrians on a bike path along the Hudson River on Tuesday afternoon, killing eight people, including half of the group from Argentina.
The other trip participants who died were Mr Hernan Ferrucchi, Mr Alejandro Pagnucco, Mr Hernan Mendoza and Mr Diego Angelini, all architects, according to the Argentine newspaper Clarin. All of them were 47 years old.
The friends had been inseparable in high school and had remained close over the years, even after two moved to the United States. "We don't understand how there can be so much evil in the world," said Mr Alejandro Luca, a close friend and business partner of Mr Erlij.
A Belgian with two young sons - one aged three and the other three months old - was identified as the sole woman victim of the attack.
Ms Anne-Laure Decadt, 31, was biking along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan with her mother and two sisters when the truck mowed into them.
Her husband, Mr Alexander Naessens, learnt of Ms Decadt's death less than an hour later, when officials at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital called him.
The others killed in the attack were from the US, said police, who identified them as Mr Darren Drake, 32, of New Jersey, and Mr Nicholas Cleves, 23, of New York.
Twelve people were also wounded in the attack, four of whom remain in critical condition.
NYTIMES, WASHINGTON POST