National News

Argentine survivors mourn 5 friends killed in New York terror attack

Posted November 4, 2017 3:11 a.m. EDT
Updated November 4, 2017 8:23 a.m. EDT

— Four Argentine men who survived this week's terror attack in New York are pleading for love and justice as they mourn the loss of five friends.

Eight people died and about a dozen others were injured Tuesday when a man drove a truck onto a bike path in Lower Manhattan.

Five of the dead were among a group of 10 Argentine men who had traveled to New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation.

"What has the world turned into? How could someone think of, plan and execute something like this? We can't wrap our heads around it," Guillermo Banchini said in a prepared statement on behalf of his friends Friday at the Argentine Consulate in New York.

Three of Banchini's friends were unharmed, but one other was injured.

"Let there be justice. Hopefully this doesn't happen again. Not here and not anywhere else in the world," Banchini said.

The slain Argentines were Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi, Argentina's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship said.

A Belgium woman, Ann-Laure Decadt, 31, as well as two Americans, Darren Drake, 32, and Nicholas Cleves, 23, were also killed in Tuesday's attack.

The suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, 29, an Uzbek national, was arrested on federal terrorism charges. He didn't enter a plea to charges in his first court appearance Wednesday.

The survivors said they are hurting after their dream trip quickly turned into a nightmare.

"We will forever mourn our friends. It was love that brought us here and love will continue to unite us," the statement said.

"We want to make a plea: that love conquers hate, that life overcomes death."

The Argentine survivors said they will be traveling back to comfort the families of their late friends in their hometown of Rosario, a city nearly 200 miles northwest of Buenos Aires.

"We have to go now. We want to go back to our families, our children, our wives and our parents and siblings. Let us go home with our pain," Banchini said.