Twenty left dead as wedding limo careers into bystanders in NY

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Two of the victims, Erin Vertucci and Shane McGowan, were newlyweds just married in June according to the Vertucci's aunt, Valerie Abeling.

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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.

Cuomo said the 2001 Ford Excursion needed a federal certification to be operated as a limousine, but didn't have it.

The limousine then carried on before ending up in a field.

Customers in the vehicle park were killed when they were hit by the limo coming down a hill on state Route 30 at "probably over 60mph", the store manager, Jessica Kirby, said.

A witness says the crash "sounded like an explosion".

"That limo was coming down that hill probably over 60 miles per hour", Kirby said.

"This is terrible, terrible, terrible", he told the Times Union. All 17 passengers were killed, along with the two stricken pedestrians and the limo's driver.

The police have not revealed the names of the deceased yet.

Two of the couples were newlyweds, the paper said.

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.

Douglas' face grew increasingly somber as she thought of her nieces' three children.

Police said they are still investigating the cause of the crash and did not comment on the speed of the limousine.

He said authorities were able to figure out the limo's direction of travel and what occurred based on evidence found at the crash scene.

A NY state trooper and members of the National Transportation Safety Board view the scene of Saturday's fatal crash in Schoharie, N.Y.

He added the investigation is focused to find "not only what happened, but why it happened so we can keep things like this from happening in the future".

The loss of life stunned even seasoned investigators, who called it the nation's deadliest transportation accident since a 2009 plane crash near Buffalo, New York, killed 50 people.

The owner of Prestige Limousine, Shahed Hussain, shares the same name and address as that of a former FBI informant who appeared as a witness in two US cases in which prosecutors brought terrorism charges against defendants, transportation and federal court records showed. But safety issues on such vehicles have arisen before, notably after a wreck on Long Island in July 2015 in which four women were killed.

All those killed were adults, with 18 of the victims were in the limousine, including the driver.

Twenty people have been killed after a limousine careened out of control in what investigators described as the most deadly transportation accident in the United States for almost a decade.

The state police were assisted at the scene by the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office and numerous first-responders.

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