Bronx Zoo car crash kills 7 people


People look at lowland gorillas in the Bronx Zoo's Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit on July 8, 2003.


Spencer Platt

NEW YORK -- Seven people are dead after a van careened off the Bronx River Parkway and fell 100 feet into the Bronx Zoo today, CBS News reported.

All victims were passengers inside the van, CBS News reported. Fire Department spokesman Jim Long said the victims -- an 84-year-old man; three women, ages 80, 45 and 30; and three girls, ages 12, 10 and 7 – were pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the local cable news broadcaster NY1, all of those aboard were members of the same family, spanning three generations. The 45-year-old woman had been driving but the names of the victims had not been released by this evening.

“The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed. It hit something that caused it to be airborne over the railing,” New York Fire Department Deputy Chief Ronald Werner said, according to The New York Post.

The van bounced off the median and crossed all southbound lanes of traffic before flipping over the guardrail, CBS News reported.

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NY1 said the scene of the accident was where another accident in 2006 that killed five people. The cable channel said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said he would ask city agencies to review the safety of the Bronx River Parkway.

No zoo visitors or animals were hurt, as the vehicle landed in a heavily-wooded area that is closed to the public and has no animals, a zoo spokeswoman said, according to The Post.

The accident is the city’s deadliest vehicle crash since March 2011, when 14 people died after a Chinatown bus traveling back from Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino split in two on Interstate 95 in the Bronx March, the New York Post reported.

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