US police said 20 people were killed in the crash of a long limousine carrying people to attend a party in New York state.
Police confirmed that all 18 people on board, along with two pedestrians, died in the accident in the Shohari town.
Eyewitnesses describe seeing an SUV limousine shooting across a road intersection and crashing into another vehicle before crashing into people in a store parking lot.
The cause of the accident is not clear.
The names of the victims have not been officially released yet, but The New York Times reported that they include four sisters and at least two newlyweds. Police say all of the dead were adults.
The President of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Robert Sumwalt, said this is the deadliest transportation accident in America
Early reports indicated that the car was carrying the group to a wedding, but later reports stated that they were traveling to a birthday party.
State police said passengers in the limousine, billed as a Ford ride, were not required to wear seat belts.
They added that the driver was also killed in the accident.
A local Spectrum News reporter, Mercedes Williams, posted photos and videos of the site of the accident, which occurred near a shop and café on Roads 30 and 30A in Shohari County.
The photos show a long line of emergency services vehicles on either side of roads closed to traffic.
Another picture shared on Twitter showed a large vehicle that appeared to have veered off the road and collided with a tree.
Eyewitnesses reported that a number of people entering and exiting the store were injured in the Saturday accident, according to local media.
“I heard this loud explosion,” said Bridey Finnagen, who lives nearby. “I saw a lot of people here in the [store and café] Apple Barrel in the car park.” Then I heard a screaming.
New York State Police Chief Richard O’Brien said several separate police units were involved in the investigation, including an identification unit and a drone team.
Authorities said they expected investigators to be on the scene for at least five days.
Police said a telephone line had been set up to help relatives of the victims.
NTSB is sending a team of investigators.
The site of the intersection is said to be in a mountainous area and it was only recently that local authorities prevented large trucks from using portions of the road.