All victims were passengers inside the van, CBS News reported. Fire Department spokesman Jim Long said the victims -- an 84-year-old man; three women, ages 80, 45 and 30; and three girls, ages 12, 10 and 7 – were pronounced dead at the scene.
“The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed. It hit something that caused it to be airborne over the railing,” New York Fire Department Deputy Chief Ronald Werner said, according to the New York Post.
The van bounced off the median and crossed all southbound lanes of traffic before flipping over the guardrail, CBS News reported.
No zoo visitors or animals were hurt, as the vehicle landed in a heavily-wooded area that is closed to the public and has no animals, a zoo spokeswoman said, according to the New York Post.
The accident is the city’s deadliest vehicle crash since March 2011, when 14 people died after a Chinatown bus traveling back from Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino split in two on Interstate 95 in the Bronx March, the New York Post reported.