Rainbow Bridge still closed, investigation into horrific vehicle explosion continues

The Rainbow Bridge border crossing between Canada and the United States remains closed as the investigation into a “horrific” vehicle explosion continues.

The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission website says Thursday that the crossing remains closed to entry on both sides of the border; the Lewiston Queensway, Whirlpool and Peace Bridge crossings are open.

It’s unclear how long the pa*sage, which connects Ontario to New York state near Niagara Falls, will remain closed. Thousands of people are expected to pa*s through the region this week for American Thanksgiving and Black Friday this weekend.

Rainbow Bridge closed Wednesday after a vehicle explosion at the port of entry. Two people were k**led and a third person was injured.

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Security on both sides of the border was immediately increased following the incident, which occurred before noon Eastern Time.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said Wednesday evening that the incident was a “horrible accident” and not an act of terrorism.

Hochul said the damage to the Rainbow Bridge means it will take time to find out what happened, and the vehicle appears to have crashed into a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) booth. United States at a high speed, exploding on impact.

“The vehicle is practically incinerated. All that’s left is the engine,” she said, adding that debris was scattered across a dozen checkpoints.

“At this time there is no indication of a terrorist attack.”

Law enforcement blocked the entrance to the Rainbow Bridge on Wednesday in Niagara Falls, New York. The U.S.-Canada border crossing was closed after a vehicle exploded at a bridge checkpoint.

Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP

Hochul said video from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection security camera shows the car driving through an intersection on a wet road, hitting a low median and rising into the air in a CBP area just east of the main vehicle checkpoint.

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The car flew several meters, twisted and then crashed into a row of booths out of the camera’s field of view.

Hochul, who visited the scene of the accident, said she watched the safety video which she called “absolutely surreal.”

“You actually had to look and say, ‘Was this (video) generated by AI?’ Because it was so surreal to see how high that vehicle was going up in the air and then the crash and the explosion,” she said.

A CBP law enforcement official told PKBNEWS that a field agent was taken to the hospital with minor injuries as a precaution, but was treated and released.

The officer was protected by the cabin he was in that was struck by the vehicle, Hochul said.

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Hochul said it was unclear whether the driver — who she identified as a Western New York resident — was intentionally heading toward the bridge that crosses the Niagara River.

The incident occurred on one of the busiest travel days of the year in the United States, a day before the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

All other border crossings in the Buffalo-Niagara region have been closed and security measures have been increased at all other checkpoints on the Canada-U.S. border, at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and on the rail networks local.

Toronto police have increased patrols “out of an abundance of caution,” while Peel Region police have deployed more officers to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

Debris is scattered inside the customs plaza at the Rainbow Bridge border crossing Wednesday in Niagara Falls, New York.

Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP

In Ottawa on Wednesday, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc told a news conference that Canada was taking the situation “extremely seriously.”

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“Whenever an infrastructure as important to Canada and the United States, as a border crossing, witnesses this type of violent circumstance, it is a source of concern for the Government of Canada and for the United States. United,” LeBlanc told reporters.

The FBI office in Buffalo said Wednesday evening that no “terrorist links” had been found. and say A search of the premises revealed no explosive materials. The investigation was handed over to the US Niagara Falls Police Department, the statement added.

– with files from Naomi Barghiel and Sean Boynton of PKBNEWS

&copy 2023 PKBNEWS, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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