Limousine, vehicle collide in NY, 20 dead

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"My heart breaks for the 20 people who lost their lives in this horrific accident on Saturday in Schoharie", Cuomo said in a statement.

The NTSB launched its "go team" to Schoharie to help investigate the crash and its causes.

A witness named by local media as Bill Waterson said the limousine was carrying a party on their way to a wedding reception, although this was not confirmed by police.

A limo speeding down a hill hit bystanders Saturday afternoon at the Apple Barrel Country Store in Schoharie, about 270 kilometres north of New York City. There is no evidence the state took any steps to do so.

State Police spokesman Christopher Fiore said the limousine failed to stop at the intersection in the town of Schoharie and slammed into a parked, unoccupied SUV.

Investigators plan to examine the mangled limo's data recorders and mechanical systems as well as the road, which has a history as a danger spot. Autopsies were being conducted.

"The driver of the vehicle - the quote-unquote limousine - did not have the appropriate driver's license to be operating that vehicle", Cuomo told reporters in Manhattan. "Prestige has a lot of questions to answer".

Barbara Douglas, the aunt of four sisters who died in the crash, said the victims were smart, handsome and lived life to the fullest.

Names of the victims have not been released pending notification of the next of kin. "Someone said there's a body laying right next to your auto".

"They were wonderful girls", the women's aunt, Barbara Douglas, told the news organization.

In 2015, the NTSB, at the urging of New York Sen.

His role at the Federal Bureau of Investigation was assailed by civil liberties groups, who accused him of helping the Federal Bureau of Investigation entrap people. A few have left bouquets of flowers wrapped in colored cellophane at the edge of the ditch, others make the sign of the cross and say a prayer.

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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.

"All fatal", she said in a phone interview.

It was the deadliest crash in the almost a decade - on land or in the air.

And it is the deadliest transportation accident overall since February 2009, when a plane crash near Buffalo, New York, killed 50 people, said Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Sources tell CBS News the limo began its trip in Saratoga, N.Y. and was headed for Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"We certainly want to look at the regulation of limos".

The vehicle was an after-market stretch limousine, according to an official.

Ford said it has never made its own stretch version of the Excursion.

Months later, the NTSB committed to investigating crashes involving stretch limos on a "case-by-case" basis.

"We have been asking for something to be done for years", she said in an email.

The limo company has been identified as Prestige Limousine Chauffeur Service in Gansevoort, New York, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation. But some big-limo wrecks caught the public's attention and prompted pleas for more oversight.