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22 Nov, 2023 19:08

Car blast hits US-Canada border crossing

The FBI is investigating a vehicle explosion near Rainbow Bridge that killed two people
Car blast hits US-Canada border crossing

Four border crossings between Canada and western New York state were closed after a vehicle exploded at a tollbooth crossing into the US via Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls on Wednesday, killing two people.

US and Canadian law enforcement sources initially told multiple media outlets that the incident was likely an attempted terrorist attack. New York Governor Kathy Hochul, however, later declared that there was “no indication of a terrorist attack.”

“Based on what we know at this moment, there is no sign of terrorist activity in this crash,” Hochul said.

Fox News initially reported and later retracted a claim that explosives had been found in the vehicle, which was attempting to drive into the border officer building. No secondary explosive or device was found after a preliminary investigation, law enforcement sources told NBC.

Canadian government officials are proceeding under the assumption that the incident was terrorism-related, national security sources told CTV. However, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc declined to openly discuss the reason for the blast, citing the “evolving” situation.

The FBI’s Buffalo Field Office said it was investigating what it called a “vehicle explosion” in coordination with local law enforcement, describing the situation as “very fluid” in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Witnesses told local news outlet the Niagara Gazette that the car sped the wrong way into the border crossing’s inspection booths and exploded.

A 27-year-old man has reportedly been taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital with minor injuries, including back pain and small cuts. The two people in the car that exploded are said to have died, while one border officer has been injured.

The incident occurred at 11:51am local time, according to the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition, and took place on the American side of the bridge.

In addition to Rainbow Bridge, authorities have closed Peace Bridge, Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, and Whirlpool Bridge to investigate the incident. Border crossings have been especially busy ahead of the  Thanksgiving holiday, which takes place on Thursday in the US. According to Fox News’ sources, government buildings in the area have also been evacuated.