MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — A charter bus struck and killed a 68-year-old Spanish tourist in front of her horrified sister by the front steps of St. John the Divine Wednesday afternoon, police and witnesses said.
Wanda Canestri, 68, was hit shortly after 3 p.m. while crossing Amsterdam Avenue near West 113th Street and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Canestri's sister started screaming, said a witness, who declined to give his name. "That’s when everybody turned around and the bus came to a stop."
The tourist was walking west to east midblock when the white charter bus, which had been parked on Amsterdam Avenue, started to pull forward and struck her, according to police.
Another witness to the aftermath, who also did not want to be named, said she saw the deceased woman's sister sitting the front steps of the cathedral crying.
"Oh my God," the witness heard her say. "I came all the way from Italy to watch my sister die."
EMS workers took the sister to St Luke's Hospital a block away.
After the accident, Canestri's feet could still be seen underneath the bus parked on Amsterdam Avenue between 112th and 113th streets.
Her body remained under the bus until around 5:40 p.m.
The driver remained on the scene and was not initially charged.
The tour bus involved in the fatal incident belongs to a Staten Island company called United Coachline, a spokesman for the company confirmed.
"There unfortunately was a fatality," the spokesman said said. "Our condolences go out to the family."