Limousine crash: Vehicle 'failed inspection' and driver 'did not have proper licence'

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Everyone in the limo, including the driver, died in the crash, as did two pedestrians struck as the limo crossed a parking lot.

There was only one side door in that limo's passenger compartment, the NTSB found, and there were no regulations to prevent such modifications.

The limousine involved in the deadliest transport accident in the United States for almost a decade had failed inspection and the driver was not properly licensed, a top official said Monday.

A limousine loaded with revellers headed to a 30th birthday party in the United States flew through a stop sign at the end of a highway and smashed into an SUV outside a store, killing 20.

The Gansevoort, New York-based company says it also has met with state and federal authorities and plans to do so again.

The McGowans were just starting a life together after getting married in June and were saving to buy a house.

The crash happened in Schoharie in upstate NY on Saturday shortly before 2pm. Investigators have not yet said whether any of the victims were wearing seat belts.

"I think what we have to do is love our friends and our family, treat every day as something that is a gift from God", Rep. John Faso said. The US National Transportation Safety Board was investigating.

"Twenty fatalities is just horrific, "Sumwalt said. They would do anything for you and they were very close to each other and they loved their family", she said". In a Facebook post, the store said it would remain open through the weekend despite the "horrific accident in front of our business".

The McGowans were a part of a party of 17 young adults who climbed into the limo to celebrate their friend Amy Steenburg's 30th birthday, the paper and other media reported.

The couple was married at a "beautiful wedding" in June at a venue in upstate New York, Abeling said.

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When she got out of her vehicle, she saw a body on the ground and broken tree branches everywhere, she said.

On Monday morning, standing at the intersection where the crash happened, Karina Halse cried as she confirmed to ABC's "Good Morning America" that her sister, 26-year-old Amanda Halse, and her sister's husband, Patrick Cushing, were among those killed.

He said his parents were still "in shock" by the sudden death of more than half of their children.

The driver wasn't properly licensed and the limo had failed a state safety inspection last month and shouldn't have been on the road, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, said, according to Associated Press.

The state moved to shut down the owner, Prestige Limousine, as state and federal authorities investigated the cause of Saturday's wreck in Schoharie.

"They were two very young, handsome people", said Abeling.

"This is one of the biggest losses of life that we've seen in a long, long time", NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said. She was a teacher in the Amsterdam School District, reported The New York Times.

"At this time the identities of the victims are not being released pending the autopsy results and notification of the family members", said Fiore.

Jessica Kirby is managing director of the Apple Barrel Country Store and Cafe in Schoharie (skoh-HAYR'-ee) NY.

All 20 people killed in the crash are being memorialized at a vigil Monday, including passengers Amanda Rivenburg, Rachael Cavosie, and Savannah Bursese.

She and her husband Rob lived in Watertown, New York, according to her Facebook page. "Did he know the vehicle?" "She was such a spontaneous person and she did whatever she could to have fun with anyone and everyone around her", Karina Halse said. She and her three sisters - Mary Dyson, Allison King and Abby Jackson - and her husband, Axel Steenburg, and his brother, Rich Steenburg, all died, relatives told the New York Times. The company did certify outside companies to modify them to Ford specifications for up to 14 seats during the 2001 model year, but it wasn't clear who modified the SUV that crashed Saturday.

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