2 dead after vehicle crashes into Rainbow Bridge checkpoint and explodes at U.S.-Canada border in Niagara Falls

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Police blockade roads after an incident at the Rainbow Bridge U.S. border crossing with Canada, in Niagara Falls, New York, U.S. November 22, 2023. REUTERS/Lindsay DeDario TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

REUTERS/Lindsay DeDario TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The FBI is investigating a vehicle explosion Wednesday at the border crossing between Canada and the United States after a vehicle crashed into the checkpoint structure at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, four senior law enforcement officials briefed on the matter said.

There were two occupants in the vehicle that crashed and both are dead, according to two senior law enforcement officials briefed on the matter.

A Customs and Border Protection officer also suffered minor injuries that did not require hospitalization, a senior law enforcement official said.

The vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed when it hit the structure, caught fire and exploded. An initial search did not find a secondary explosive or device, the law enforcement officials said, noting this was preliminary information.

Authorities are investigating whether the crash was intentional.

All western New York bridge crossings into the U.S. were shut down following the incident, the Erie County executive said. The vehicle was headed into the U.S., the Erie County Sheriff’s Office said.

Firefighters view the scene after an incident at the Rainbow Bridge U.S. border crossing with Canada, in Niagara Falls, New York, U.S. November 22, 2023 in a still image from video. REUTERS/Reuters TV

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Several emergency vehicles were at the entrance of the bridge and federal authorities were investigating, NBC affiliate WGRZ of Buffalo reported.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said she was aware of the incident and is traveling to Buffalo to meet with law enforcement officials. She said New York State Police will be actively working with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force to monitor all points of entry into the state.

“I’ve been briefed on the incident on the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls and we are closely monitoring the situation. State agencies are on site and ready to assist,” she said in a post on X.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said security has been increased and the “city is on heightened alert due to the upcoming holiday.”

“We have also reached out to, and are in ongoing communication with, partners from across different levels of government to assist with this effort. Our number one priority is, and always will be, the safety of New Yorkers,” the mayor said in a statement.

Firefighters view the scene after an incident at the Rainbow Bridge U.S. border crossing with Canada, in Niagara Falls, New York, U.S. November 22, 2023 in a still image from video. REUTERS/Reuters TV

REUTERS/Reuters TV

The White House is also closely monitoring the situation, an official said. The Canada Border Services Agency said it was “liaising with our U.S. counterparts on this matter.”

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority said it would be increasing security systemwide. Travelers at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport should expect additional screenings and vehicles coming into the airport will undergo security checks, it said.

“The Buffalo and Niagara Falls Airports are fully operational. We advise travelers to give themselves time for these extra precautions in addition to holiday travel,” the agency said in a post on X.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.



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