Three congregants of a Brooklyn church were killed Sunday morning when the van they occupied was broadsided by a tractor trailer on an Ulster County highway, police said.
The victims, whose names have not been released, had been attending a religious retreat at the Honors Haven Resort in Ellenville, investigators said.
The congregants are members of the Bethesda French Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Seven people were riding in the van after leaving a church conference at the time of the 10:30 a.m. accident. The driver and a teenage passenger were airlifted to Westchester Medical Center for treatment, police said.
Two van passengers and the driver of the tractor trailer were taken to Ellenville Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, investigators said.
The van was attempting to enter Route 209 from Nevele Drive when it was struck in the passenger side by the tractor trailer, police said.
Ariel Regis, one of the survivors, sustained a few scratches and a bloodshot eye in the crash.
"I can't really remember what happened but all I can say is I was trying to put the address in the map so we can drive back," Regis said. "And then my head was down. When I look up the car got hit."
Church leaders have been meeting with family members to help them through the grieving process.
"We have spent some time with them this evening,"Dr. Alanzo Smith said Sunday. "They are going through a very, very painful and terrible time now.
--Ida Siegal contributed to this report.