UK & World News
Seven Dead As Van Plunges Into Bronx Zoo
Seven people, including three children, have been killed after an out-of-control van drove off a road and plunged more than 100ft into New York's Bronx Zoo.
The van had been heading south down the Bronx River Parkway when it suddenly bounced off the central section, careered across two lanes and then hit the guardrail.
Police said it flipped over the rail and then landed upside down in an area that is used by the zoo to store its monorail trains, some way from the animal enclosures.
All seven people in the van were killed in the accident.
They have been identified as Jacob Nunez, 85, and Ana Julia Martinez, 81, both from the Dominican Republic, and their daughters, Maria Gonzalez, 45, and Maria Nunez, 39, and three grandchildren.
The children have been named as Jocelyn Gonzalez, 10, the daughter of the driver, Niely Rosario, seven, and three-year-old Marly Rosario, both daughters of Ms Nunez.
"Obviously, the vehicle was travelling at a high rate of speed," deputy chief of the New York Fire Department, Ronald Werner, said. "It hit something that caused it to become airborne.
"I've been in the fire department 30 years. Sometimes you come upon events that are horrific and this is one of them."
Police have launched an investigation into the cause of the accident, which is the second time in the last year that a car has fallen off the same stretch of the Parkway.
Last June, a driver heading north lost control and his vehicle hit a divider then bounced through two lanes of traffic and fell 20ft over a guardrail, landing on a pick-up truck in a car park.
Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr vowed that city agencies would be asked to look at safety issues on the highway, including the height of the guardrail.
"My prayers, as well as those of my office and all Bronxites, go out to the families of the seven victims," he said.
The car accident is the deadliest in New York City since March 2011 when the driver of a bus on its way back from a Connecticut casino lost control and slammed into a pole, killing 14 passengers.