NEW YORK – An out-of-control van swerved across several lanes of traffic on a highway overpass Sunday, then plunged more than 50 feet off the side of the road and landed in a ravine on the grounds of the nation’s largest city zoo, killing all seven people aboard, including three children, authorities said.
The van apparently flipped over a 4-foot-high iron fence before landing upside-down on the Bronx Zoo property. The cause of the crash was unclear, and police said they didn’t yet know how fast the van was traveling.
The victims were three girls, ages 3, 5 and 10; an 84-year-old man; and three women, ages 80, 45 and 39, police said. The 45-year-old woman was driving. The victims’ names weren’t immediately released.
The van was headed south on the highway that cuts through a working-class neighborhood when it bounced off the median, crossed all southbound lanes and hit the guardrail, police said.
The van landed in a wooded area on the edge of zoo property that’s closed to the public and far from any animal exhibits, zoo spokeswoman Mary Dixon said.
The crash was the second in the past year where a car fell off the same stretch of the Bronx River Parkway.
City agencies will be asked to look at safety issues on the highway including guardrail height, Bronx borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said in a statement Sunday.