In a tragic incident, at least two people were killed when a “vehicle explosion” at the US-Canada border crossing near Niagara Falls on Wednesday (local time). The incident occurred when a vehicle speeding toward a US-Canada bridge from the American side crashed and exploded. According to reports, the two people who died were a husband and wife, however, their identifications have not been ascertained yet.
Following the incident, four US-Canada border crossings in the region have been closed as the investigation into the incident is underway. According to officials, there were no indications of a terror attack, but they were unsure of what caused the accident. They said that things remain unclear about the incident at the Rainbow Bridge, which stirred concerns on both sides of the border as the US headed into the Thanksgiving holiday.
Canadian PM, US President briefed of incident
Shortly after the incident, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden were briefed, and the former withdrew from the ‘Question Period’ in the House of Commons to obtain additional information on the matter.
Addressing a press conference, New York Governor Kathy Hochul stated that the investigation was in the early stages. “Based on what we know at this moment, there is no sign of terrorist activity in this crash. The car ended up “basically incinerated, with nothing left but the engine. Debris was scattered across a dozen checkpoint booths,” Hochul said.
Incident captured in security camera
Security camera video released by the US government showed the car race through an intersection on a wet road, hit a low median and vaulted high into the air in a US Customs and Border Protection area just east of the main vehicle checkpoint. The car flew for yards, twisting, and then crashed into a line of booths out of the camera’s view.
Rickie Wilson, a Niagara Falls tour guide, was by his parked car nearby and turned around when he saw something in the air. “I first thought it was an airplane. It looked like slow motion,” he said. “I said, ‘My God, it’s a car. It’s a vehicle, and it’s flying through the air,” Wilson added.
Rainbow Bridge closed for visitors
Photos and videos taken by bystanders and posted on social media showed thick smoke, flames on the pavement and a singed security booth. The Rainbow Bridge — a short span that offers striking views of the falls — and three others between western New York and Ontario were quickly closed as a precaution. The Buffalo-Niagara International Airport began security checks on all cars and told passengers to expect additional screenings.
(With inputs from AP)