A trip of a lifetime for friends of more than 30 years ended in tragedy on Tuesday.
A group of former school mates from Argentina were celebrating the 30th anniversary of their graduation in New York City when they were struck by a truck as they enjoyed a group bike ride.
Five of the men were killed in the terrorist attack that left eight dead and 11 others injured on Halloween after a truck rammed into people on a bike path before slamming into a school bus several blocks from the World Trade Center memorial, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of the Argentine Republic confirmed Tuesday night.
Their names were Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi. Another friend on the trip, Martin Ludovico Marro is recovering from his injuries at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry.
The friends graduated from the Colegio Politécnico de Rosario in 1987, according to local media in Argentina. Erlij, a 48-year-old businessman who owned a steel mill in Rosario, Argentina, had paid the fares for two former classmates, who for personal reasons couldn’t afford the cost of the trip, according to local Argentine outlet Infobae.
Erlij was also a member of the Metropolitan Industrial Park of Rosario, and lived in the Kentucky Club de Campo in Funes, Argentina.
In a statement by the Argentine ministry, the government expressed its condolences to the families of those who were killed, writing, “The men, native to the city of Rosario, were part of a group of friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their graduation at the Polytechnic [High] School of that city when the tragic event occurred.”
“The general consulate continues working in permanent contact with the police and the hospital that received those affected, as well as with their relatives in Argentina,” the statement continued.
Belgium’s deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders tweeted about a Belgian citizen who was among the victims who died.
“I am deeply saddened to announce a Belgian victim in #Manhattan – I express my condolences to the family and friends,” he tweeted.
Reynders told the Belga News Agency that the victim was “a woman from Roulers in western Flanders who was on a city trip with her sister and her mother.”
Reynders said three other Belgians were “also wounded” in the attack, and were “in the operating room”.