Eight people were killed and 12 others were injured when 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov drove a rented pickup truck down the West Side bike path, plowing into bicyclists and pedestrians for an entire mile before crashing into a school bus.
Forty-eight year-old Ariel Erlij, 47-year-old Hernan Diego Mendoza-Espino, Alejandro Damian Pagnucco, Hernan Ferruchi and Diego Enrique Angelini, all from Argentina, were among those killed.
The five men were in New York with five other friends to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation.
Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, his wife and the parents of one of the victims laid white flowers tied with a blue ribbon — the Argentinian colors — at the site of the attack on Monday.
Macri said that such tragedies unite people of good will around the world and he stressed the importance of nations working together to thwart terrorism.
Mayor Bill de Blasio offered words of comfort and vowed that the truck attack would not divide but unite the two nations in the fight against terrorism.
“This was not just an attack on eight individuals, it was not just an attack on New York City, it was an attack on all of humanity,” de Blasio said. “Our prayers are with the victims and with their families. We feel their grief, it doesn’t mater what hemisphere they call home, doesn’t matter what nationality. We will forever remember them as New Yorkers and feel they are a part of us.”
The bodies of the five friends arrived in Buenos Aries on Monday morning. A police motorcade led the somber procession of hearses to their hometown of Rosario in northern Argentina.