At Least 20 Dead in Upstate New York Limousine Crash

At least 20 die when wedding party limousine crashes

Twenty people lost their lives in a horrific crash Saturday afternoon in rural upstate NY.

State police say 20 people died in a crash in upstate NY that local officials say involved a limousine near a crowded tourist spot. The NTSB is investigating Saturday's crash.

The crash turned a relaxed Saturday afternoon to horror at a rural spot popular with tourists viewing the region's fall foliage.

Since the reconstruction, three tractor-trailers have run through the same stop sign authorities said the limo blew and into a field behind her business, she said. They leave behind two young children.

Relatives told CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil the victims in the limo were a tight-knit group of family and close friends, most of them, from Amsterdam, a small city near Schoharie.

"They did the responsible thing getting a limo so they wouldn't have to drive anywhere", said their aunt, Barbara Douglas.

On Saturday afternoon in the rural town of Schoharie, about 40 miles west of Albany, a 2001 Ford Excursion limousine failed to stop at the intersection of New York State Routes 30 and 30A.

According to witnesses, the white SUV-style limo failed to halt at a stop sign, and was travelling at around 60mph (95km/h) when it flew through an intersection, hit an empty auto outside the Apple Barrel Country Store & Cafe, and then hurtled across a drainage ditch.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) later tweeted that it was also sending a team of investigators to the site of the "limo crash". "I have been on the board for 12 years and this is one of the biggest loss of lives that we've seen in a long time", NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt told a news conference on Sunday.

Officials say Saturday's crash in Schoharie (sko-HAYR'-ee) was the deadliest transportation accident in the US since a 2009 plane crash in Buffalo, New York, killed 50 people.

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Fiore said authorities couldn't answer several questions at this point, such as if the limo's occupants were wearing seat belts, whether the vehicle's brakes were working or whether the driver was speeding.

Police said Sunday they were not releasing any of the victims' names, pending autopsies and notification of next of kin.

Valerie Abeling said "our lives have been changed forever" after newlyweds Erin Vertucci and Shane McGowan were killed.

"She was a lovely, sweet soul; he was too", Ms Abeling said of her niece.

Jackson was a special education teacher in Amsterdam, said Santabarbara, who represents the part of NY where the crash happened.

State police confirmed Sunday the death toll and said the crash involved two vehicles.

Apple Barrel, a country store and cafe, closed after the crash and have since released a statement on Facebook.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his "heart breaks" for the victims, adding that he's directed state agencies to help with the investigation.

And back in 2005, a 7-year-old girl in a wedding limousine died in Long Island, New York, after a drunken driver plowed into them head-on.

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