A car traveling at high speeds crashed and caught fire on the bridge connecting New York and Ontario at Niagara Falls. The accident resulted in the deaths of two individuals in the car and caused a security concern, leading to the closure of four border crossings between the US and Canada.
After several hours, authorities at the federal and state level reported that their investigation did not uncover any signs of a terrorist act. However, details surrounding the crash on the Rainbow Bridge are still unclear, and it has yet to be determined if it was an accident or intentional.
The governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, stated that the explosion on the US side of the Rainbow Bridge, which links the two countries over the Niagara River, did not appear to be a terrorist attack.
“At this current time,” she stated, “there is no indication of terrorist involvement in the crash.”
According to a statement from the FBI, their investigation has been completed. They reported on X, previously known as Twitter, that a thorough search of the area did not uncover any explosive materials and no connection to terrorism was found.
Video of the crash caught on security camera and posted online by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency showed the car traveling from the U.S. side at high speed, then hitting an object and flying into the air before crashing to the ground and exploding in flames. A CBP officer suffered minor injuries in the incident. He was treated at a hospital and released, an agency official said later.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York shared on Twitter that he received a briefing from the FBI regarding the incident at Rainbow Bridge. According to initial reports, the two individuals who were killed were inside the car, but their identity and motive have not yet been confirmed. The investigation is ongoing and law enforcement is on high alert during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Justin Trudeau left the question period in Canada’s House of Commons to receive a more detailed update, stating: “The situation at Niagara Falls is extremely grave.”
The Canadian prime minister emphasized the significance of this matter.
After the explosion, the Rainbow bridge and three additional crossings (Lewiston, Whirlpool, and Peace Bridge) were shut down. However, the other three were operational again by Wednesday.
The White House reported that they are closely observing the events at the border between the US and Canada. They also mentioned that law enforcement officers are present and conducting an investigation.
Images and footage captured by media outlets and shared on social media displayed a security booth that had been scorched by fire.
The videos depicted a fire in a section of the US Customs and Border Protection facility located east of the primary vehicle inspection point.
Mike Guenther told WGRZ-TV that he witnessed a car traveling at high speeds towards the border crossing from the United States. The car then veered to avoid another vehicle, but ended up crashing into a fence and exploding.
Guenther stated to the station that he witnessed an unexpected event in which someone was propelled into the air and a large ball of fire, reaching approximately 30 to 40 feet in height, appeared. He expressed that he had never seen anything similar before.
Ivan Vitalii, a tourist from Ukraine who was at Niagara Falls, reported to the Niagara Gazette that he and his companion were in the vicinity of the bridge when they “heard a loud crashing noise.”
He informed the newspaper that they witnessed fire and a large cloud of dark smoke.
Melissa Raffalow, located within Niagara Falls State Park, reported seeing a large cloud of dark smoke emanating from the nearby border crossing, approximately 50 yards (45m) away from the popular attraction. Raffalow informed the AP via message that law enforcement arrived shortly thereafter and instructed visitors to scatter as they proceeded to block off the surrounding street.
The premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, stated that their provincial law enforcement is currently evaluating the situation. They are collaborating with local law enforcement and offering assistance as needed.
According to data from the US Federal Highway Administration’s National Bridge Inventory, approximately 6,000 vehicles use the Rainbow Bridge daily. The federal data also shows that roughly 5% of this traffic is made up of trucks.