Two dead in car explosion on the border with Canada; They rule out “terrorist attack”

NIAGARA FALLS — A vehicle that was speeding toward a bridge between the United States and Canada from the American side crashed and exploded at a checkpoint in Niagara Falls, leaving two people dead and causing the closure of border crossings in the area, authorities reported. New York State Governor Kathy Hochul said there was “no indication that this was a terrorist attack.”

Until now, authorities have not revealed the identities of the deceased.

The governor of New York said there is “no indication of terrorist activity” in the car explosion at the border crossing between the United States and Canada that caused the closure of four border crossings in the tourist region of Niagara Falls.

The dynamics of the incident remained unclear, and investigators were trying to figure it out. Hochul said it was unclear whether the driver was intentionally heading toward the Rainbow Bridge crossing over the Niagara River when the vehicle struck a road divider and became airborne.

“Based on what we know so far, although everything can change“There is no indication of terrorist activity regarding this collision,” Hochul said at a news conference.

Much remained unclear regarding the crash, which investigators are already working on. Hochul said it’s unclear whether the driver was intentionally heading toward the Rainbow Bridge spanning the Niagara River when the vehicle hit a road divider and was thrown into the air.

The event caused the closure of four border crossings and raised concerns on both sides of the border. The White House said President Joe Biden was “monitoring developments closely,” and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated that authorities were “taking this extremely seriously.”

“This is obviously a very serious situation in Niagara Falls,” Trudeau said in Parliament before excusing himself from question period in the House of Commons.

Vehicle was traveling at high speed

The two deceased people were in the vehicle, said a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the details of the investigation.

Aaron Ferguson, spokesman for the city of Niagara Falls, New York, said the vehicle was traveling at high speed from that city and crashed into the border station.

Jim Diodati, mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario, told The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that the event appeared to be “an isolated incident.”

The FBI office in Buffalo said in a statement that it is investigating the explosion on the Rainbow Bridge, which links the two countries over the Niagara River.

Photos and videos that bystanders took and posted on social media showed thick smoke, flames on the pavement and a charred security booth. The videos showed that the fire occurred in a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) area, located just east of the main vehicle checkpoint. The agency did not immediately comment.

The bridge, and three others between western New York and Ontario, were quickly closed as a precaution, and Buffalo-Niagara International Airport began conducting security checks on all vehicles and told passengers there would be additional screening.

Investigations continue

US terrorism investigators were deployed after the car exploded in a fireball at an immigration checkpoint, prompting the closure of border posts on one of the busiest tourist days on the US holiday calendar.

For his part, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that Canadian authorities are also “actively participating in assessing the situation” in coordination with local forces.

Buffalo International Airport has increased security screening, with special attention to vehicles entering or parking at the facility, as well as additional screening of passengers.

News media photos and videos posted on social media showed a security post on fire.

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At first there was no more information. Rainbow Bridge is one of four border crossings between western New York state with the Canadian province of Ontario.

The others are Lewiston, Whirlpool and Peace Bridge.

The Niagara Bridge Commission reported that all crossings are closed. The authorities continue with the investigation.

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FOUNTAIN: With information from AFP and AP