3 women from India killed after speeding SUV goes airborne in S.C. crash

By Ehren Wynder

April 27 (UPI) -- Three women from India are dead and another person is hospitalized Saturday after a speeding sports utility vehicle went airborne and crashed in South Carolina, authorities said.

The crash occurred around noon Friday along Interstate 85 in Greenville County, S.C., Chief Deputy Coroner Mike Ellis said at a press briefing.


Ellis said the SUV was speeding north on I-85 when it crossed all lanes of traffic, ran up the embankment, flew some 20 feet over a bridge and crashed into trees on the other side of the bridge.

The airborne vehicle appeared to strike the trees least 20 feet above the ground and was found in several pieces, Ellis said. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.

Officers confirmed three passengers died on the scene. The injured driver was hospitalized, and their condition is unknown.

Ellis said the vehicle's alert system notified the victims' family members, who then alerted local authorities.

The coroner's office on Saturday identified the deceased women as Manisha Rajendra Patel, Sangita Bhavnesh Patel and Rekhaben Dilip Patel from India. Indian broadcaster NDTV identified the victims as being from the Anand District in the state of Gujarat.


The cause of their death was listed as blunt force trauma.

"Very seldom do you see a vehicle that leaves the roadway at such a high rate of speed that it jumps 4-6 lanes of traffic and lands in the trees approximately 20 feet," Ellis said. "When you got family, probably related, three deceased, it is nothing that you want to ever see."

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the crash.

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