Among the victims of Tuesday’s terror attack on a bike path near the World Trade Center in New York were five Argentinian men, one of whom was a Jewish businessman, Ariel Erlij.
They were part of a group of eight friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation with a trip to New York City.
The Argentine foreign ministry identified them as Erlij, Hernan Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damian Pagnucco, and Hernan Ferruchi. A sixth member of their party, Martin Ludovico Marro, was recovering from injuries at Manhattan’s Presbyterian Hospital.
The group were celebrating the anniversary of their 1987 graduation from the Polytechnic School of Rosario, Argentina, with a US trip to New York and Boston, where Marro lives.
The Yeshiva World website reported that the Misaskim organization, which provides religious Jewish services for the dead and mourners, has contacted the NYC Medical Examiners Office to offer its services in ensuring Erlij’s remains are handled according to Jewish tradition.
Argentina’s consul in New York, Mateo Estreme, told La Capital in Rosario that the survivors in the group are in a state of shock. Only days earlier, before flying to the US, they had posed for a group photo, all of them wearing T-shirts with the word “Libre,” or Free.
The trip was paid for by Erlij, the chief executive of Ivanar, an Argentine steel products manufacturing company, according to Argentina’s La Nacion newspaper. Several of the victims were architects.
“Four died at the scene and another young man died when he was taken away by an ambulance,” Jose Nunez, a national deputy who was a friend of several of the men, told La Nacion. According to reports from Jewish media websites, it was Erlij who died en route to the hospital.
The government said it expresses its most sincere condolences and that all Argentinians are sharing a terrible moment of profound sadness.