TWENTY people have died after a limo carrying a wedding party crashed in upstate New York today.
All 18 people in the Ford Excursion died after the car failed to stop at a junction shortly before 2pm on Saturday and hit an unoccupied vehicle in a car park, police said.
Emergency services rushed to the scene following the horror crash today[/caption]
Two bystanders were also killed.
The people in the limo are said to have been travelling to a wedding reception.
Local officials told the Times Union that a limo speeding down a hill hit bystanders on Saturday afternoon at the Apple Barrel Country Store in Schoharie, about 170 miles north of New York City.
The store is a popular stop for tourists on fall foliage trips.
Local resident Bridey Finegan said: “I saw a lot of people here at the Apple Barrel out in the parking lot. Then I heard screaming.
“Then I saw this large van, a very unusual looking vehicle out here in Scoharie in the bushes and really wrecked, hit a tree.”
She added: “The first responders broke some windows to try to get people out. I believe the jaws of life were here on the side of one of the fire trucks.”
Customers in the car park were killed when they were hit by the limo coming down a hill on state Route 30 at “probably over 60 mph,” the store manager, Jessica Kirby, told The New York Times.
Police captain Richard O’Brien said: “This is a two-vehicle, multi-fatality investigation.
“It’s very preliminary. In it’s infancy stages. We have several units investigating.”
Eyewitnesses say the limo went through the intersection, hitting another car and pedestrians before going into a ditch.
Shop owner Jessica Kirby said: “Out here most of the people that came yesterday were volunteers.
“To volunteer and have to deal with something like that is, that takes a special kind of person. We want to do everything we can to support them.”
In a Facebook post on Saturday, the store thanked emergency responders for their actions. On Sunday, the store posted that it was open “and could use your hugs.
Authorities didn’t release names or details of the victims, but police set up a hotline for family members.
Lester Andrews, 60, said his two stepsons and a daughter-in-law were among three of the people killed in the limo.
Brothers, Axel Steenburg, 29 and Rich Steenburg, 34, lived upstate.
Axel’s wife, Amy also died in the crash. The pair got married this summer.
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He told The New York Times: “They rented the limo with some families and I don’t know exactly what they were doing.
“There’s just a lot of confusion, so many people died.
“Their mother is looking for some answers. She wants to know what happened to her sons.”
The National Transportation Safety Board says it is investigating the deadly crash involving the limousine near a busy tourist spot.
The store posted a message on Facebook saying it was open on Sunday “and could use your hugs.”