Two killed in crash at US-Canada border, officials say no sign of terrorism

23 November 2023, 18:04

Border Crossing Explosion
Border Crossing Explosion. Picture: PA

The FBI’s Buffalo office said late on Wednesday that it had concluded its investigation.

The FBI has ended its investigation into a car crash that killed two people at a border checkpoint in Niagara Falls after finding no evidence that it was a terror attack, easing a tense period as Americans headed into the Thanksgiving holiday.

The FBI’s decision late on Wednesday came several hours after the vehicle raced through a junction, hit a central reservation and flew through the air before slamming into a line of booths and exploding at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls.

“A search of the scene revealed no explosive materials, and no terrorism nexus was identified,” the FBI’s Buffalo office said in a statement.

Canada Border Crossing Explosion
Workers block the entrance to the Rainbow Bridge border crossing (Carlos Osorio/Canadian Press/AP)

“The matter has been turned over to the Niagara Falls Police Department as a traffic investigation.”

A spokesman for the City of Niagara Falls said the investigation has been taken over by the Niagara Falls Police Department’s Crash Management Unit.

The two people who died were a husband and wife, according to a source. The identities of those in the car have not yet been released.

The crash prompted the closure of the Rainbow Bridge and three other bridges connecting western New York and Ontario in Canada, as federal officials swarmed the area and US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received briefings.

Hours later, officials sought to calm concerns on what is one the busiest travel days of the year.

“Based on what we know at this moment there is no sign of terrorist activity in this crash,” New York governor Kathy Hochul said at a news conference.

Canada Border Crossing Explosion
Several lanes of the Rainbow Bridge border crossing between the US and Canada were closed (Carlos Osorio/Canadian Press/AP)

Ms Hochul said the car was “basically incinerated” with nothing left but the engine and a scattering of charred debris.

Later on Wednesday night, New York senator Chuck Schumer said investigators had found “no connection to any terrorist or criminal group”.

He added that there was no evidence of chemicals or substances used in explosives during investigators’ swabbing of the scene.

The Rainbow Bridge is crossed by about 6,000 vehicles each day, according to the US Federal Highway Administration’s National Bridge Inventory.

Witness 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’.”

By Press Association

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