Tourist-spot crash kills 18 in limo, 2 bystanders

Apple Barrel Country Store

The Apple Barrel Country Store is seen in this image from Google Street View

A limousine headed to a birthday party was going up to 60 miles per hour when it blew through a T intersection, killed two pedestrians, hit a parked auto and flew into a ditch, splintering trees and flinging bodies as all 18 people on board were killed Saturday in upstate NY, witnesses said.

Twenty people have been killed after a limousine taking people to a birthday party went past a stop sign at the end of a NY state highway and ploughed into a parked vehicle.

Before the limousine crashed, on the way to a birthday party, one of the victims, Erin McGowan, texted a friend that the limousine was in bad condition and appeared to have motor trouble, the New York Times reported.

A limousine crash in upstate NY on Saturday killed 20 people, officials have said.

It is still not clear whether the limousine crash was the fault of the driver or a malfunction of the vehicle, Cuomo said, but that the National Transportation Safety Board and state police were investigating.

The McGowans were a part of a party of 17 young adults who climbed into the limo to celebrate their friend Amy Steenburg's 30th birthday, the paper and other media reported. But state police say they seized four Prestige cars, including the one that crashed.

Douglas said the couples had several children between them who they left at home.

Linda Riley of Schenectady, New York, says she was in a parked vehicle at the Apple Barrel Country Store in Schoharie when she heard the noise.

"They were together multiple times a week always hanging out", she said, noting that they threw many backyard parties.

It is unclear how numerous fatalities were people inside the limo or standing outside the restaurant, a popular tourist spot during fall foliage season.

State police investigators worked into the evening Saturday reconstructing the crash.

"It's just bad. When is the last time you heard of 20 people getting killed in a vehicle accident?"

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".

"In 2015, I urged the NTSB to investigate a horrific accident on Long Island involving another stretch limo and urged the agency to continue investigating limo accidents nationwide, because we desperately need more data to prevent them and minimize their toll. 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. She had been in another auto parked at the store, saw a body on the ground and heard people start screaming.

The weekend crash was characterised by authorities as the deadliest U.S. transportation accident in almost a decade.

In a Facebook post, the Apple Barrel Country Store thanked emergency officials for their actions in the aftermath of the "horrific" accident. "If I was the apple barrel owners I would be demanding some sort of barriers to protect my business and customers".

In 2014, the latest year with available figures, crashes on the state's highways resulted in $808.1 million in hospitalization and emergency department charges, the Department of Health said on its website.

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