Drone video shows deadly limo crash site in upstate NY

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A crash that killed 20 people in upstate NY is a "wake-up call" for limousine safety, the chief of the federal agency investigating what happened to a stretch limo taking passengers to a surprise birthday party said on Monday.

The crash about 170 miles north of New York City came three years after another deadly stretch-limo wreck in New York state spurred calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to examine such vehicles' safety. Originally, the friends had booked a party bus, but when it broke down en route to picking them up, the company-Prestige Limousine-sent a reportedly dilapidated limousine in its place.

The state ordered the owner, Prestige Limousine, shut down while an investigation continues into what caused Saturday's crash in Schoharie.

He added, "It's not supposed to be on the road".

Police said everyone inside the limousine, including the driver, died in the crash, and all those killed were adults.

Palfy said his A1's vehicles are inspected routinely by the company and randomly by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

New drivers also go out with A1's field service managers to each of the company's more common pickup points, including the airports.

He also said the limo - built by cutting apart a heavy-duty SUV and lengthening it - had been created without federal certification, though NTSB officials said they hadn't yet determined whether the vehicle met federal standards.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a "go-team" to the crash site from Washington DC, which are used to investigate major accidents. The group had gathered for a surprise party to celebrate Amy Steenburg's 30th birthday.

He said the aim of the investigation was to determine how to prevent such a devastating crash from ever occurring again, and did not rule out that the probe could shed broader insights on the safety of passenger limousines themselves.

Steenburg died along with his brother, Axel. In a Facebook post, the store said that it would remain open through the weekend despite the "horrific accident in front of our business".




The four sisters' aunt, Barbara Douglas, said they had felt "they did the responsible thing getting a limo so they wouldn't have to drive anywhere".

State police confirmed 18 of the victims were inside the limousine, while the other two were pedestrians standing in the vehicle park of the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe.

Witnesses said they saw pedestrians who had been hit trying to enter the Apple Barrel during the crash, according to WNYT.

"She was a handsome, sweet soul; he was too", Abeling said.

Sumwalt said most of the victims were found inside the vehicle following the crash and one or two victims may have been ejected.

"This is one of the biggest losses of life that we've seen in a long, long time", NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt told The AP.

It's not known whether the limousine involved in the Schoharie crash had any of those deficiencies.

Two newlywed couples and four sisters - ranging in age from 30 to 35 - are among the 20 people who died in Saturday's collision in NY state. Those kinds of altered vehicles have anxious officials because after-market modifications can affect a vehicle's structural integrity and safety, said Peter Goelz, former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board.

"They were the Four Musketeers, " he said.

Valerie Abeling says her niece Erin Vertucci was among the victims with her newlywed husband Shane McGowan. "They were two very young, handsome people" who "had everything going for them".

Since limos are essentially stretched versions of normal passenger vehicles, it means occupants aren't necessarily seated near a pillar which offers increased protection in the event of a crash.

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