Rainbow Bridge: US-Canada border blast not terror-related, says NY governor

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A speeding car crashed and exploded in a deadly fireball on a US-Canada border bridge, triggering a major security scare on the eve of Thanksgiving.

Two individuals lost their lives, and a US border agent sustained injuries when a vehicle crashed at a checkpoint while heading from the New York side of the border to Rainbow Bridge. Despite the serious incident near Niagara Falls, New York Governor Kathy Hochul ruled out terrorism, allaying initial concerns. The explosion occurred around 11:30 local time on the eve of Thanksgiving, causing significant disruptions on one of the busiest travel days. Train services between New York and Canada were briefly halted, and heightened security measures were implemented at Buffalo and Niagara Falls airports.

Amid fears of a possible terror attack, officials temporarily blocked the Canadian entrance to Rainbow Bridge as a precaution. Both US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were promptly briefed on the incident. Governor Hochul, later addressing reporters, stated that there was no sign of terrorist activity based on available information. The deceased individuals were identified as a married couple, with the husband driving and the wife as the passenger. The car, a 2022 Bentley, had reportedly been to a US casino after a canceled concert by the hard rock band Kiss.

The vehicle, traveling at a high speed, breached an 8-foot fence, resulting in a crash that incinerated the car. Governor Hochul expressed gratitude that more people were not harmed given the scene’s scale. A US Customs and Border Protection officer sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the crash. The Rainbow Bridge remained closed, causing significant delays on US-Canada crossings, while three other crossings—Peace Bridge, Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, and Whirlpool Bridge—reopened. Eyewitnesses described feeling the ground shake and witnessing the vehicle in flames, with the blast likened to a “mini-earthquake.”

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