Tributes have started to pour in for a 23-year-old swimming instructor who was tragically killed on a dream trip to New York City, when a garbage truck hit her as she cycled around Central Park.
The young woman, who has been identified by 7 News as Madison Jane Lyden, had been in the city just a few days when the fatal incident happened at around 5pm on Friday.
Lyden, from Geelong, Victoria, was cycling around the tourist hot spot, with police confirming that she had been riding in the designated cycling lane, when an Uber pulled out in front of her, forcing her into the path of the oncoming rubbish truck.
She was enjoying the trip of a lifetime with a group of friends when tragedy struck, with one witness telling 7 News: “I was just praying to God, you know, to help her, like ‘please God’.”
Lyden was rushed from the scene in New York’s Upper West Side to Mount Sinai West Hospital after the collision, where she sadly passed away.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio told TV news crews: “Here’s someone doing everything they’re supposed to do. We know in some of these cases we’ve lost innocent people because drivers didn’t take care.”
Lyden’s family and friends are said to be shocked that her trip of a lifetime came to such a tragic end.
One of Lyden’s colleagues from the Waurn Ponds aquatic centre, where she’d taught swimming for two years, told 7 News described her as “bright and bubbly”. They said: “She’s really well liked by her team and also the families that come to the centre.”
Following the incident, the New York Police Department carried out drug and alcohol testing on the driver of the bin lorry. Felipe Chairez, 44, was then arrested and has since been charged with driving while intoxicated.