Argentine city mourns New York truck attack victims

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People place candles outside the Instituto Politecnico, a technical high school, where the five Argentine citizens who were killed in the truck attack in New York on October 31 went to school, in Rosario, Argentina November 1, 2017Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
People lit candles in front of the college from which the victims had graduated in 1987

People in the Argentine city of Rosario have been holding a vigil in memory of five residents who were killed in the New York truck attack on Tuesday.

The five victims were part of a group of 10 friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their graduation from college with a trip to the US city.

Candles were lit outside their former college and flags were flown at half mast.

Relatives of the victims have travelled to New York to retrieve their bodies.

Many of those who lit candles in front of the General San Martín polytechnic college expressed their dismay over what had happened to the school's former students.

'Hard blow'

"They went to celebrate life and they met with death," an official from the college said.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Flags were flying at half mast in Rosario after five residents were killed in the New York truck attack
Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Residents of Rosario said they were dismayed by what had happened

"It's a very hard blow," one student told the Associated Press news agency.

"It hurts to think that these men walked the same corridors as us and studied in the same classrooms," student president Agustín Riccardi said.

The 1,300 students of the college gathered before class on Wednesday to hold a minute's silence.

Former students Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferrucci were killed on Tuesday when an Uzbek immigrant drove along a bike lane in Lower Manhattan mowing down cyclists and pedestrians.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
This image of the Argentine friends was taken moments before they flew to New York. Hernán Ferrucci (far left), Alejandro Damián Pagnucco (second from left), Ariel Erlij (third from left), Hernán Mendoza (third from right) and Diego Angelini (second from right) were all killed

Another former student of the polytechnic was injured in the attack. Martín Marro, who lives in Boston, is recovering in hospital.

The group of 10 had planned the trip to New York to mark the anniversary of their graduation in 1987.

They hired bikes to tour Lower Manhattan and were riding two abreast when a car sped along the cycle path.

Ariel Benvenuto, one of the survivors, called his wife just after the attack happened.

He told her that he heard the car accelerating and that it missed him by 20cm (8 inches). "He told me: 'I will never forget the image of my friends thrown to the ground'," his wife said.

Mr Benvenuto's cousin, Norma Daneo, was one of the people who joined the vigil outside the college in Rosario on Wednesday.

"I want to thank God for sparing him," she told reporters.

"He was in the last row [of cyclists], he saw his friends fall but he escaped injury," she said.