Updated 7:16 p.m. ET: Seven people are dead after a minivan flew off the Bronx River Parkway around 12:30 p.m., fire officials told NBC 4 New York. The van fell about 100 feet to a wooded area in the Bronx Zoo tram yard, according to media reports.
The seven victims were in the van. Three were girls, ages 7, 10, 12. The adults who died were an 84-year-old man and three women, ages 80, 45 and 30. They were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
It is still unclear what caused the van to veer out of control but investigators believe it bounced off the median, crossing all southbound lanes before flipping over the guardrail. The area below was a non-public area of the 265-acre animal park. There were no animals or people on the ground.
New York Police Department highway accident investigators estimated the van was traveling approximately 70 miles per hour or more when it hit the median. The 45-year-old woman was driving the van, and all the passengers were wearing seat belts.
Units were dispatched to four locations; the police department used dogs, helicopters and thermal imaging to look for body heat.
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