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AP source: 2 people in vehicle that exploded at NY/Canada border crossing declared dead at scene

by Sophia Chen
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Rainbow Bridge explosion

On Wednesday, a catastrophic explosion occurred at a U.S.-Canada border checkpoint in Niagara Falls, resulting in two fatalities. This incident, which took place on the American side of the Rainbow Bridge, led to the shutdown of four key border crossings in the vicinity.

The explosion’s cause remains unknown, sparking significant alarm in both countries. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed grave concern, emphasizing the situation’s severity, while the White House confirmed President Joe Biden’s active monitoring of the unfolding events.

The two individuals who perished were inside the vehicle at the time of the explosion, as reported by a law enforcement source to The Big Big News, under anonymity due to restrictions on discussing the ongoing investigation.

The aftermath of the explosion left visible fire damage at the customs plaza of the Rainbow Bridge. The FBI’s Buffalo office, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, is leading the investigation into this incident.

Reacting swiftly to the explosion, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, during a parliamentary session, underscored the gravity of the situation and stepped out for a detailed briefing. As a precautionary measure, three additional bridges connecting western New York and Ontario, and the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, heightened their security protocols, including extensive vehicle checks and additional passenger screenings.

Further, Prime Minister Trudeau indicated that Canada is considering and implementing extra security measures at all its border crossings in response to the incident.

Witnesses captured the aftermath on social media, showing intense flames and smoke, with damage to a security booth. Mike Guenther, a bystander, recounted seeing a vehicle accelerating towards the checkpoint, swerving, crashing into a fence, and subsequently exploding.

Melissa Raffalow, present in the nearby Niagara Falls State Park, reported seeing a large cloud of black smoke emanating from the border crossing, a mere 50 yards from the famed tourist spot. Authorities swiftly responded, evacuating and securing the area.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and New York Governor Kathy Hochul have been briefed on the situation, as per their respective offices. Following the explosion, the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission announced the closure of all four of its crossings, including Lewiston, Whirlpool, and Peace Bridge.

The Rainbow Bridge, a critical thoroughfare constructed in 1941, sees approximately 6,000 vehicles crossing daily, with about 5% being truck traffic. The bridge spans just over 1,440 feet and features a steel main span.

This report was supplemented with contributions from Big Big News writer Michael Balsamo in New York.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Niagara Falls Explosion

What happened at the U.S.-Canada border in Niagara Falls?

A vehicle exploded at the Rainbow Bridge checkpoint on the American side, resulting in two fatalities. The incident caused the closure of four border crossings and sparked an intensive investigation by U.S. and Canadian authorities.

Were there any casualties in the Niagara Falls border explosion?

Yes, two people in the vehicle were declared dead at the scene. Their identities have not been disclosed as part of the ongoing investigation.

What actions were taken following the explosion at the Niagara Falls border?

Authorities closed four major border crossings, including the Rainbow Bridge where the incident occurred. Heightened security measures were implemented at nearby bridges and the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. Canadian and U.S. officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden, are closely monitoring the situation.

Is the cause of the Niagara Falls border explosion known?

As of now, the cause of the explosion remains undetermined. The FBI, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is investigating the incident.

Has this incident affected border crossings between the U.S. and Canada?

Yes, the incident led to the temporary closure of four border crossings, including the Rainbow Bridge, Lewiston, Whirlpool, and Peace Bridge. This has impacted traffic and border crossing activities between the U.S. and Canada.

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