The accident at the Bronx Zoo that killed seven Sunday afternoon may have been caused by a blown tire, according to media updates. The New York Times's City Room blog initially reported that the vehicle plunged 100 feet off an overpass on the Bronx River Parkway to land just south of the zoo; it has now amended that report to "several dozen feet." Other reports claim that the plunge was approximately 50 feet to the ravine below. Such a dramatic event occurring in sunny, dry weather immediately causes speculation as to the condition of the driver; however, police now have witness reports stating that it looked as though a tire had blown on the vehicle. The vehicle in question was a minivan that landed upside down in a tram yard in a non-public area of the Bronx Zoo property. If the tire was the cause, speculation will turn to whether Bronx County bears any responsibility for whatever may have caused the tire to blow, sending the van careening across the parkway and putting dozens of people in danger, if not more.
Fire department spokesman Jim Long has continued to deliver helpful information to the press, and reported that all seven of the deceased were in the vanÂ—they include an 84-year-old man; three women ages 80, 45 and 30; and three girls, ages 12, 10 and 7 (NBC New York says the youngest victim was 3) and that the van was traveling at a speed of 70 miles per hour, which is a dangerous and illegal speed. The 45-year-old woman was the driver. It remains to be seen if the tire was indeed the cause of the accident or if perhaps the driver was intoxicated or had a health issue which caused her to lose control of the vanÂ—or if this was simply an accident due to speeding. It is unknown when the damage to the tire occurred, and the van did hit the guardrail before falling off the overpass, which could indicate that the blown tire is a result of the accident and not the cause. The investigation into this deeply tragic event continues.