New York terror attack: Group of five friends from Argentina among those killed in deadly rampage

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
The five men were from this group of Argentinian friends – Hernán Diego Mendoza (far left), Alejandro Damián Pagnucco (second from left), Ariel Erlij (third from left), Diego Enrique Angelini (second from right) and Hernán Ferruchi (third from right) were killed (Facebook)

A group of five friends from Argentina celebrating the 30th anniversary of their graduation were among eight people killed in the New York terror attack.

The men were reportedly part of a group of 10 friends exploring Manhattan on bicycles when a rental truck struck pedestrians and cyclists in Lower Manhattan at around 3pm on Tuesday.

Argentina’s foreign ministry named the victims as Hernan Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damian Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernan Ferruchi.

The group were marking three decades since their graduation from Polytechnic College in the city of Rosario in central Argentina.

Suspect Sayfullo Saipov ran through the streets after driving into pedestrians (AP)
Bicycles and debris lie on a bike path after a the deadly attack (AP)
Authorities stand near a damaged Home Depot truck used to mow down pedestrians (AP)
The timeline of the deadly attack that saw eight people killed (PA)

A sixth Argentinian man with the group, Martin Ludovico Marro, was taken to the Presbyterian hospital in Manhattan.

A Belgian national was also among the dead, according to the country’s deputy prime minister.

The driver of the truck, who has been identified by police as Sayfullo Saipov, 29, from Uzbekistan, was shot by police after jumping out of the vehicle with what turned out to be two fake guns.

Saipov was ‘associated with Isis’, authorities confirmed today, with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo confirming that the suspect was ‘radicalised domestically’.


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He was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and is currently in police custody.

On Tuesday night, police investigating the rampage were seen surrounding a white Toyota minivan with Florida number plates in the car park of Home Depot in Passaic, New Jersey.

Saipov had allegedly rented the pick-up truck an hour before the rampage from the state before unleashing terror on the streets of New York.

Sayfullo Saipov is the suspect in the New York terror attack (AP)
This image made from a video provided by Tawhid Kabir shows the suspect in a deadly attack being apprehended by police (AP)
A father reacts as he carries his children out of the crime scene (AP)
Heavily armed police stand guard near the scene as New York comes to terms with another attack in the city (AP)

He reportedly shouted “Allahu akbar”.

The 29-year-old suspect had been working as an Uber driver after passing a background check, according to a spokeswoman for the app.

In a statement, the firm added: “We are horrified by this senseless act of violence. Our hearts are with the victims and their families.

“We have reached out to law enforcement to provide our full assistance.”

New York mayor Bill de Blasio described the attack as “a particularly cowardly act of terror” while governor Andrew Cuomo said it was a “lone wolf” attack, and there was no evidence it was part of a wider plot.

As ordered by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the spire of One World Trade Centre is illuminated in red, white and blue (AP)
Authorities investigate the scene near a covered body on a bike path after the attack (AP)

In response to the atrocity – the deadliest terror attack to strike New York since September 11 – President Donald Trump ordered the security services to “step up” vetting procedures.

Meanwhile the UK Foreign Office said it was standing by to provide assistance but was not aware of any British citizens involved as yet.

Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted that she was “appalled by this cowardly attack”, saying the UK stands with New York.

Isis has so far not claimed responsibility for the attack.