Rainbow Bridge: 'No sign of terrorist activity' in vehicle explosion at US-Canada border

Incident happened at border bridge in Niagara Falls one day before US Thanksgiving holiday

Car explodes in Niagara Falls on US-Canada border

Car explodes in Niagara Falls on US-Canada border
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US and Canadian authorities on Wednesday rushed to investigate a vehicle explosion on the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, a busy border crossing between the two countries, but found "no sign of terrorist activity".

"There is no evidence at this time that this was terrorist activity," New York Governor Kathy Hochul told a briefing.

Ms Hochul said it was a "horrific incident, a crash, an explosion" with "no sign of terrorist activity", according to the information authorities have.

President Joe Biden has been briefed on the incident, the White House said, and will continue to receive updates from his team.

"This is obviously a very serious situation in Niagara Falls," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Parliament. "We are taking this extraordinarily seriously."

Social media photos and video from bystanders showed thick smoke and flames on the roadway, and a security booth that had been burnt.

Reports from witnesses and police accounts described a car speeding on to the bridge and losing control before crashing and exploding.

CNN reported that the car had accelerated to more than 160kph.

Unidentified law-enforcement sources told CNN that two people in the vehicle were dead. Fox News said a border patrol official had been injured.

The Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Centre said it evaluated and treated a patient with non-life-threatening injuries related to the incident.

The patient had been discharged, the hospital said.

“The FBI Buffalo field office is investigating a vehicle explosion at the Rainbow Bridge, a border crossing between the US and Canada in Niagara Falls,” the office said in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The agency called the situation “very fluid” on a busy travel day before Thursday's Thanksgiving celebrations in the US.

The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force was investigating and monitoring "all points of entry to New York", Ms Hochul said in a post on X.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a post on X that he was "aware of the situation unfolding" and that "provincial law enforcement is actively engaged".

Local news organisations and the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission said that all four international border crossings between the US and Canada in western New York were closed for the time being.

The US-Canada crossings in the Niagara Falls area are some of the busiest ports of entry between the two countries, and one of the busiest crossings in the world.

Buffalo International Airport was closed to all departing and arriving international flights after the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration said on its website.

The Niagara border transport authority also said regional airports are receiving increased security, where all types of vehicles are checked and passengers given more screenings.

New York state assemblyman Michael Novakhov said government offices in the immediate area were evacuated.

Updated: November 23, 2023, 6:35 AM