New York truck attack: Victims were visiting with loved ones

New York attack victims Alejandro Damián Pagnucco Ariel Erlij and Hernan Ferrucci

Eight people were killed in New York on Tuesday when a man drove a truck onto a cycle path in Lower Manhattan. Not all the victims have been identified yet but the authorities have confirmed that five of them were tourists from Argentina and another was visiting from Belgium.

The Belgian national was named on Wednesday as 31-year-old Ann-Laure Decadt. She was said to be visiting the city with her mother and two sisters.

The mayor of Staden in West Flanders where she was from confirmed her death on social media.

Decadt was married and had two young children, who are reportedly just three years old and three months old.

The Belgian Consul General confirmed that they were supporting her family in New York, who were said to be uninjured in the attack.

Five of those killed were from a group of Argentine friends visiting the city: Diego Enrique Angelini, Ariel Erlij, Hernán Ferrucci, Hernán Diego Mendoza and Alejandro Damián Pagnucco.

The trip to New York had been more than a year in planning. They had all studied together at the same polytechnic college in the port city of Rosario, 300km up the Paraná river from the capital, Buenos Aires.

  • What we know and don’t
  • What witnesses saw and heard

Their time at the General San Martín college, with its demanding curriculum, had created a strong bond between the students, which persisted after they graduated in 1987.

At a school reunion last year, they decided to do something special to mark the 30th anniversary of their graduation, local media are reporting.

One of the class of 1987, Martín Marro, lives near Boston in the United States so the idea came up to visit him.

Martín Marro's Linkedin pictureImage copyrightMARTIN MARRO
Image captionMartín Marro was injured in the attack and is being treated in the Presbyterian Hospital for “non-life threatening injuries”

Mr Marro, 48, had been living in a suburb of Boston with his architect wife for some seven years, a local politician said.

He works as a senior investigator for Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A group of nine friends signed up to the trip which would also take them to New York.

Seven of them flew out from Rosario to the US on the same plane on Saturday. Before boarding, they had their picture taken at the airport, all wearing the same white T-shirts with the slogan “Libre” (Free) emblazoned on it.

Argentine daily La Nación tweeted the photo.

Ariel Erlij could not fly out with the group that day because he had to attend to some business, but he saw them off at the airport.

Facebook picture of Ariel ErlijImage copyrightARIEL ERLIJ/FACEBOOK
Image captionAriel Erlij was one of the five Argentines killed in the attack

A successful businessman who owned the steel firm Ivanar in Rosario, Erlij had paid for the trip for two of his former classmates who could not afford the costs.

The married 48-year-old, who lived in Funes, just outside of Rosario, flew out a day later to meet his friends.

After spending a day with their friend in Boston, the group, including Mr Marro, flew to New York.

On Tuesday, they decided to hire bicycles to tour Lower Manhattan.

They were cycling two abreast along the West St-Houston St cycle path when a white pick-up truck mounted the path shortly after 15:00 local time (19:00 GMT).

Surviving members of the group told Argentine daily Clarín that those cycling next to the street were killed, while those on the inside of the cycle path were knocked to the ground but fell onto grass and survived.

  • In pictures: New York truck attack
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The Argentine consul in New York, Mateo Estremé, told Clarín that the survivors were in shock and that they did not immediately know what had happened to their friends.

It was not until later that day that they were told that five of their friends had died.

Among the five who died was Hernán Ferrucci.

Hernan FerrucciImage copyrightHERNAN FERRUCI/FACEBOOK
Image captionHernan Ferrucci had travelled to New York with his friends

He had studied at the National University in Rosario after graduating from General San Martín college.

He became an architect and had worked on a project building condominiums in an upscale area of Rosario, local media reported.

Diego Angelini also became an architect after his studies at General San Martín.

Diego AngeliniImage copyrightDIEGO ANGELINI/FACEBOOK
Image captionDiego Angelini was among the friends who went cycling in Lower Manhattan

Angelini had his own architecture studio in the centre of Rosario.

Alejandro Damián Pagnucco was another one of the group of friends who did not survive the attack.

Alejandro PagnuccoImage copyrightALEJANDRO PAGNUCCO/FACEBOOK
Image captionAlejandro Damián Pagnucco was also killed in the attack

He was 49 and lived in Funes, the same small city outside of Rosario where Ariel Erlij also lived.

Hernán Diego Mendoza also became an architect after graduating from college. According to his Facebook profile, he had worked most recently at Duendes Rugby Club in Rosario.

The city of Rosario has declared three days of mourning for the five Argentine victims.

The two remaining victims have not yet been formally identified.

Source:-BBC