20 dead as limo ploughs into restaurant customers in New York

In one of the worst accidents in upstate New York, 20 people were killed when a Ford Excursion limousine carrying people after a marriage party came speeding down a hill and ploughed into customers entering or leaving a busy restaurant at its parking lot on Saturday.

The accident happened at a dangerous intersection of Route 30 and Route 30A in Schoharie near Apple Barrel Country Store and Café around 1.55 pm, New York State Police said.

They did not give the break-up of how many passengers and bystanders died in the accident. Witnesses said several bodies were lying in the parking lot.

Police said six ambulances, three fire engines and two helicopters arrived at the accident scene soon after receiving distress calls.

Jessica Kirby, manager of Apple Barrel, said the restaurant was crowded with customers as it was Columbus Day weekend.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the accident scene. They will collect evidence and conduct interviews with survivors and witnesses to find out the cause of the crash.

In 2005, 20 people had drowned on Lake George in the Capital Region after a tour boat sank.