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NTSB releases new documents in connection to deadly Schoharie limo crash

WNYT Staff
Updated: August 26, 2020 11:56 PM
Created: August 26, 2020 11:26 AM

The National Transportation Safety Board released new information on the Schoharie limo crash Wednesday.

NewsChannel 13 has been poring over the hundreds of pages of photos, depositions and study findings.

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The NTSB documents give us new insight into the horrifying final moments leading up to the crash that killed 20 people in October 2018.

New York State Police said catastrophic brake failure is to blame. The NTSB also included pictures of the brakes and routers, which NewsChannel 13 took to a local mechanic.

“That is another picture of a brake line, badly deteriorated, badly rusted,” George Dunbrook said, “Certainly could have failed under great stress or strain which is what this vehicle was under."

Dunbrook owns Dunbrook Mobil on Madison Avenue in Albany.

He said the weight of the vehicle and the numerous hills on the route could have generated enough heat in the brakes to cause the fluid to vaporize, leading to brake failure.

Dunbrook said the limo company never should have allowed that vehicle to make the trip.

“The vehicle should not have been doing what it was doing, which was providing a false sense of security for all of the people who were in it,” Dunbrook said.

But depositions released Wednesday show passengers didn't feel secure, as people in contact with them say they expressed concerns.

One message from a passenger to a friend read 'the limo sounds like it's going to explode.' The passenger later texted her friend calling the vehicle a 'junker.' They said the motor was so loud, it was making everyone deaf.

A witness also said the vehicle sounded like a jet engine when approaching the intersection of Rt. 30 and Rt. 30A, and didn’t appear to brake at all before before swerving to avoid her car seconds before crashing.

The NTSB conducted a study that found if the limo had a brake system that was properly maintained, it would have had sufficient braking capacity to go the speed limit and stop safely at the intersection.

Stay tuned to NewsChannel 13 for updates on this story.

You can find the entire set of documents here.

Here's some of what we've found so far:

Toxicology report on the driver

Supporting depositions and interviews with limo company operator Nauman Hussain and witnesses

Photos of the limo and brake system (pads, rotors, etc.)

NewsChannel 13 will have the key takeaways in our later newscasts.


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