Australian girl, 10, dies in Astoria car crash

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Crowds of bystanders helped upright a minivan after it flipped in an Astoria car accident Sunday night that killed a 10-year-old girl, the FDNY said.

Sabrina Mangos, of Tennyson, Australia, who police said was visiting the country with her family, was transported to nearby Mt. Sinai Hospital on 30th Avenue and pronounced dead.

The crash occurred at 6:37 p.m., when a 55-year-old man driving a Nissan Sentra westbound on 34th Avenue struck the van, which was going northbound on 31st Street, police said.

It was unclear exactly how many people were injured in the accident and taken to nearby hospitals, and no one was charged as of Monday morning.

Several minutes after the crash, the van remained stranded in the middle of 31st Street, all of the glass from the driver-side windows shattered on the ground.

Jesse Jaimes Vincencio, 41, lives on the corner and heard a loud bang when the cars collided. When he got outside, he saw the van on its side and called police.

An older man who had been behind the wheel of the overturned van yelled about a girl still inside, according to Vincencio.

“People broke through the windows,” he said.

One person tried to go through the back door, but they could not reach the little girl, he said.

Instead, about 14 people began trying to lift the van.

It tipped upright on the second try, and revealed an injured Sabrina lying on the street.

“She looked very bad,” Vincencio said.

Her relatives were screaming, he said, and said they were supposed to leave the United States Saturday.

“I pray to God to help her because I am a father, too,” Vincencio said.

Glass, bloody car parts and broken CDs lay scattered on 31st Street Monday morning. A makeshift memorial had also been set up at a pay phone on the northwest side of the corner. Police tape had been used to tie flowers to two metal bars near the pay phone. A case for multiple CDs, a CD with Hebrew writing on it and other items had been left below it, as well as three candles with pictures of Jesus and saints on them.

Tariq Mehmood, 53, owner of the Getty gas station on the southeast corner of the street, said that while traffic in the area is normal, accidents often happen at the intersection from motorists trying to get through the traffic lights before they change. He said 31st Street and 34th Avenue are also often used as an alternative to some of the main drags in the area, like 21st Street or Broadway.

“Most of the time people take 34th Avenue instead of Broadway to beat the lights,” Mehmood said.

Rebecca Henely contributed reporting to this article.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 11:08 am, October 12, 2011
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