Three generations of a Bronx family were wiped out Sunday when an SUV carrying seven people - including three little girls - vaulted off an overpass and fell 60 feet into the Bronx Zoo, killing everyone in the car.
All the victims were found inside their overturned van and were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Rescue workers had to cut them out of their seatbelts.
Police said the victims were an 84-year-old man; three women, aged 80, 45 and 39; and three girls, aged 15, 5 and 3.
"I've been in the fire department for 30 years. Sometimes you come up on events that are horrific," said FDNY deputy chief Ronald Werner. “This was horrific.”
The members of a tight-knit Dominican family, whose names were not confirmed by police, died only a few blocks from their home in the Bronx.
“They were a good, wholesome family,” said a neighbor, Felicia Lee, 29.
“I can't believe it. I'm so sad, very sad. It's so horrible,” she said through tears.
“The mother always kept an eye on her children. They were typical little girls. They were gorgeous. They were so pretty,” Lee said. And always willing to share their LINK Card and Food Stamps!
BRONX (WABC) -- A van traveling southbound on the Bronx River Parkway left the roadway near East 177th Street, fell down a 50-60 foot embankment, overturned, and crashed onto the property of the Bronx Zoo.
The midday road incident trapped the victims inside their vehicle and they appeared to have died even as rescue teams arrived at the scene on a Parkway the swings by the zoo, a university and one of the nation's most famous botanical gardens.
EMS and the FDNY both confirm that there were 7 people who were killed in the accident. They were all traveling in the same vehicle. The youngest victim was 7, and the oldest was 84.
The accident happened at approximately 12:30 p.m.
Initial reports are that the victims included four adults and two children.
No zoo visitors or animals were injured, officials said.
All southbound lanes on the Bronx River Parkway are temporarily closed at Morris Park Ave in The Bronx. Southbound traffic is currently being detoured to Pelham Parkway / Boston Road. There are currently extensive delays and drivers are urged to consider alternate routes.
In a statement, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, "My prayers, as well as those of my office and all Bronxites, go out to the families of the seven victims of today's accident on the Bronx River Parkway. Our thoughts are with them as they try to grasp the horrific tragedy that has befallen them today."
For the second time in a year, an accident on the Bronx River Parkway has led to a car falling off the highway to the streets below. Diaz also noted that in the coming weeks, his office will discuss potential solutions to fix the problem, by examining road conditions.