Twenty people were killed when a wedding-limo crash spilled over into a busy restaurant parking lot in upstate New York, officials and reports said Sunday.
Eighteen of the dead were traveling in the limo, while two were bystanders, a person with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press.
Two vehicles, including the limo carrying a wedding party, collided at an intersection in Schoharie ― about 35 miles west of Albany ― around 1:55 p.m. Saturday, according to New York State Police.
The SUV-style stretch limo was speeding downhill when it smashed into another vehicle, sending at least one of them careening into the parking lot of the Apple Barrel cafe, a popular spot for tourists taking in upstate’s fall foliage, according to the Albany Times Union.
“I heard a loud bang, [and] I came out my front door to see what was going on,” resident Bridey Finnagen told local ABC affiliate News 10. “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 Schoharie, in the bushes and really wrecked, hit a tree,” she continued.
The crash kicked off a huge emergency response that included six ambulances, three fire companies and two helicopters, the Times Union reported.
“The first responders broke some windows [on the vehicles] to try to get people out,” said Finnegan. “I believe the Jaws of Life were here on the side of one of the fire trucks.”
State police confirmed the deaths of 20 people at the scene, but would not provide any other details pending a 3 p.m. news conference.
The names of the deceased were not immediately released as state police worked through notifying their next-of-kin in the wake of the massive smash-up.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are en route to investigate one of the deadliest vehicular accidents the region has seen in years.
Those fearing that a loved one may have been involved in the collision are urged to call the New York State Police at (877) 672-4911.
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