NEW YORK (CBSMiami/CNN) – Five friends from Argentina celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation were among the eight people killed in Tuesday’s terror attack in New York.
Hernán Mendoza, Diego Angelini, Alejandro Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi died after they were struck by a truck, reportedly driven by Sayfullo Saipov, on a crowded bike path near the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.
A sixth Argentine national who was part of the group was injured. He is out of danger and recovering at New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital.
On Twitter, Argentine President Mauricio Macri said on Tuesday that he was “(d)eeply moved by the tragic deaths this afternoon in NY. We put ourselves at the disposition of the families of the Argentinian victims.”
The group had traveled to New York from Rosario, a city nearly 200 miles northwest of the capital of Buenos Aires. They were celebrating the 30th anniversary of their graduation from the Polytechnic School.
In a statement, the school said that it “expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the attack,” adding: “We accompany all your loved ones in their pain.”
After driving for nearly a mile on the bike path, Saipov, 29, crashed into a school bus.
Two adults and two students on the bus were hurt.
“The window was knocked out, it was apparent that one of the kids flew across that and broke the window with his head, it was bleeding,” said Sebastian Sobczak. “I saw a little girl trapped in the wheel well of that bus, some really pretty horrific sights.”
Witnesses said he then got out of the truck and began yelling “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” while waving around two guns.
A police officer shot him in the abdomen, and he underwent surgery at a local hospital. He’s expected to survive.
A woman visiting from Belgium and another from Germany were also killed in the attack which wounded near a dozen others.
Saipov’s guns turned out to be a pellet gun and paintball gun. A note that referenced the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria was found in or near the truck.
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