AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Schoharie is the focus of the investigation into a deadly limo crash that killed 20 people. The focus of the grief, however, is 20 miles north, in Amsterdam.
Most of the victims had ties to the city in New York’s “Mohawk Valley.”
One home in particular is dealing with an unimaginable amount of grief. Tom and Linda King lost four daughters and three sons-in-law in Saturday’s tragedy.
“I know he doesn’t know how to recover from this. You can’t wrap your head around it. You just can’t,” Barbara Douglas, Tom King’s sister, said.
CBS2’s Tony Aiello spoke off-camera with surviving sibling Tom King Jr., who said there are no words to describe his family’s pain.
He and his wife, Beth, planned to join the party in the limo that crashed, but canceled at the last minute.
The gathering was to celebrate Amy King-Steenburg’s 30th birthday. She and Axel Steenburg just married in June.
“(He) found the love of his life and married the love of his life. He was living the life. They were so happy,” family friend Wendy Rowback said.
Rowback knew five of the young victims, including Axel Steenburg’s brother, Rich, their friend Matt Coons, and Savannah Bursese. She said her heart is broken for all the families touched by the tragedy.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s just totally devastating,” Rowback added.
Patrick Cushing, who worked for the New York State Senate, and his girlfriend, Amanda Halse, also died in the crash.
“As a sister, I saw her low points and her being with Patrick really made her happy, a happiness I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m so grateful they knew other and they were with each other,” Halse’s sister, Karina, said.
Virtually everyone in Amsterdam knows a victim or someone who lost a close friend or loved one.
The King family hopes to hold one funeral at St. Stanislaus Church for all four daughters and three sons-in-law, a family member told CBS2.
“I think what we have to do is love our friends and our family, treat every day as something that is a gift from God,” Rep. John Faso said.
A candlelight vigil was held along the banks of the Mohawk River on Monday evening. CBS2’s Jessica Layton reports thousands were in attendance to pay tribute to all of the victims.
The victims have been identified as:
- Shane and Erin McGowan
- Amy and Axel Steenburg
- Rich Steenburg
- Abigail “Abby” and Adam Jackson
- Mary and Rob Dyson
- Allison King
- Patrick Cushing
- Amanda Halse
- Matthew Coons
- Scott Lisinicchia
- Amanda Rivenburg
- Michael Ukaj
- Rachel Cavosie
- Savanna Bursese
- Brian Hough
- James Schnurr