Troopers said not saying how many died; road reopened after Saturday accident on Routes 30, 30A
SCHOHARIE – Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the deadly crash that killed a number of people Saturday near the busy Apple Barrel Country Store.
State Police have not said how many died and the estimates for local sources have varied widely.
A spokesman for the federal agency, which handles probes of major vehicular disasters, said Sunday that investigators were on their way into the area.
The NTSB investigators are expected to be in the area for days and then will sort through evidence and interviews to determine what caused the crash.
The crash between a limousine and another vehicle at the intersection of routes 30 and 30A happened at about 1:55 p.m. Saturday. It killed a number of people near the busy Apple Barrel, a popular spot for tourists during the fall foliage season.
State Police said they reopened the intersection about 4 a.m. Sunday.
Investigators worked into the night on what is likely to be the deadliest vehicle crash the region has seen in years.
The Apple Barrel’s parking lot was packed with vehicles and people just moments before the crash occurred.
Witnesses at the scene said several bodies could be seen on the ground.
Many questions remain unanswered:
State Police say the crash resulted in “multiple fatalities” but, as of 7:30 a.m. Sunday, troopers have not said how many people died or released names of the victims.
Estimates on the number killed has varied wildly from several local sources. A Facebook page called Schoharie County Fire Wire and News said it took down its initial post concerning the crash because of the false information that was being placed in the comment string.
It appears that at least two vehicles – including an SUV-style stretch limousine – were involved in the crash. It was unclear if the impact killed pedestrians, passengers or both.
County dispatchers said they received the first of many 9-1-1 calls at 1:55 p.m. after the wreck near the store and restaurant in the town of Schoharie.
The emergency calls triggered a massive response that included six ambulances, three fire companies, and two helicopters.
Some of the injured were flown by helicopter to Albany Medical Center Hospital.
As of late Saturday, the State Police were reconstructing the wreck and authorities were attempting to get in contact with family members of the victims.
The Apple Barrel posted a note on Facebook that said it will be open Sunday, and will be collecting donations for the local volunteer agencies who responded to the scene of the crash.
“We hope you will come and share your smiles, love, friendship and hugs with us. We also hope you will share your change. We will be collecting donations for our local volunteer emergency services. They are the heroes of our small community.”
“Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone that was affected by the events of today,” the post continued. “You will always be part of our family.”
The store also said, “We will not be discussing the events of today any further. Thank you for understanding.”
Schoharie Town Supervisor Alan Tavenner said Saturday that improvements the state Department of Transportation made about seven years ago to the dangerous intersection didn’t seem to make it safer.
“There have been tractor trailers that have come barreling down that hill and it was a miracle they didn’t kill somebody,” said Tavenner.