BY ROBERT POZARYCKI AND SUZANNE MONTEVERDI UPDATED 5:30 p.m., Sept. 18
Police are continuing to investigate a crash in Flushing that left three people dead and more than a dozen individuals hospitalized at the start of the Monday morning commute.
A total of 16 people were reported injured from the crash — “several of whom are critical and are fighting for their lives right now,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference at around 9:45 a.m. All are being treated at local hospitals. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now part of the crash investigation.
According to the FDNY, the crash occurred at about 6:15 a.m. on Sept. 18 at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Main Street, where a tour bus operated by the Dahlia Travels and Tours smacked into an MTA bus.
Police said that the tour bus was heading eastbound on Northern Boulevard when it collided with a Q20 bus traveling northbound on Main Street that was attempting to turn onto the boulevard’s eastbound lanes. Fifteen people were on board the Q20 bus at the time, it was reported.
The tour bus then smashed into a nearby building, sparking a small fire that was quickly extinguished, the Daily News reported.
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, who also spoke at the press conference, noted the buses were moving at such high speeds that the impact spun both buses around. The chairman said authorities investigating are “very concerned about the speed.”
The investigation is in the preliminary stages and authorities “do not yet have a reliable videotape to work from,” de Blasio said. Sections of Northern Boulevard and Main Street remain closed to traffic as the probe continues.
On Monday afternoon, police identified the victims as Raymond Mong, 49, of College Point Boulevard in College Point, who operated the tour bus; Gregory Liljefors, 55, of 140th Street in Flushing, a passenger on board the Q20 bus; and Henry Wdowiak, 68, of 35th Avenue in Flushing, a pedestrian who was walking at the intersection when the crash occurred.
Scores of firefighters, police officers and EMS units responded to the incident. De Blasio, Lhota and NYPD Assistant Chief Juanita Holmes also responded to the scene.
Lhota said that the Q20 bus driver suffered injuries that were not life-threatening and is speaking with investigators.