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SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (CBS News) — Police said Sunday that 20 people were killed on Saturday in upstate New York when a limousine failed to stop at an intersection and slammed into an SUV. The Albany Times Union reported a limousine was carrying a wedding party when it crashed in the town of Schoharie, about 25 miles west of Albany.
At a press conference Sunday afternoon, authorities said all 20 victims were adults. Eighteen of those killed were in the limousine, and two victims were bystanders.
“Everyone inside the limousine was killed,” said Christopher Fiore, first deputy superintendent of the New York State Police.
State police said the crash occurred just before 2 p.m. on Saturday when the limousine, a 2001 Ford Excursion, crossed the intersection of State Route 30 and State Route 30A, traveling at about 50 mph. The limo struck an unoccupied Toyota Highlander in a parking lot, which then hit and killed the two bystanders.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were on hand to assist in the investigation. Chairman Robert Sumwalt said the crash was “the most deadly transportation accident in this country since February 2009,” when a plane crashed into a house outside Buffalo, New York, killing 50 people.
Photos from the scene show a white stretch SUV entangled in trees off the side of the road. The Times Union, citing local officials, reported that the limo crashed into bystanders at the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe.
In a Facebook post Saturday, the store wrote that “there was a horrific accident in front of our business today.” In another post Sunday, the store said it was open for business “and could use your hugs.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that he had directed state agencies “to provide every resource necessary to aid in this investigation and determine what led to this tragedy.”
“I join all New Yorkers in mourning these deaths and share in the unspeakable sorrow experienced by their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time,” Cuomo said.
At least six ambulances and two helicopters responded to the crash, CBS affiliate WRGB-TV reported. The names of the victims were being withheld pending notification of next of kin.