The FBI and Canadian authorities are investigating a vehicle explosion at the Rainbow Bridge, which connects the U.S. to Canada at Niagara Falls, New York.
CNN reported that a car accelerated at a high rate of speed, went airborne and exploded on its way to a secondary search at the border crossing, killing two men. Fox News, citing unidentified sources, said the incident was an attempted terrorist attack. Rainbow Bridge, which bans commercial traffic, mainly serves tourists.
“We are taking this extraordinarily seriously,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday in Canada’s House of Commons. “It’s a very serious situation, but we will remain engaged for the entire day.”
Canadian Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc said it is “simply not responsible” to speculate on the origin of the explosion until more accurate information becomes available. He declined to speculate on whether the vehicle was coming from the U.S. or Canadian side of the border, saying there had been “contradictory information.”
President Joe Biden has been briefed on the explosion and is monitoring the situation with members of his team, according to a White House officials.
Ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, Buffalo Niagara Airport has been closed to departing and arriving flights, according to the FAA National Airspace System Status page.
All border crossings in the Niagara region are closed to traffic, the Ontario Provincial Police said. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said provincial law enforcement was assessing the situation and providing support as needed.
In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul said she was traveling to Buffalo to meet with law enforcement and emergency responders, and New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he was “closely monitoring” the incident. In a statement, the mayor said he sent NYPD officers upstate to help support law enforcement officials there, and also warned New Yorkers to expect increased security around the city, including at entry and exit points.
About 1.5 million passenger vehicles crossed the Rainbow Bridge in the first 10 months of this year, according to data from the Bridge and Tunnel Operators Association. The busiest bridge in the region is Peace Bridge that connects Buffalo with Fort Erie, Ontario, and which saw 2.9 million vehicles in the same period.
(–With assistance from Max Zimmerman, Laura Dhillon Kane, Derek Decloet, Akayla Gardner, Laura Nahmias and Brandon Sapienza)