On Wednesday, November 22nd, a tragic incident unfolded at the Rainbow Bridge, a key United States-Canada border crossing near Niagara Falls when a vehicle explosion resulted in the deaths of two people. The explosion prompted the closure of four major border crossings, intensifying security concerns.
The explosion occurred on the U.S. side of the Rainbow Bridge, involving a 2022 Bentley. The vehicle, driven at high speed by a Western New York resident, crashed into a median and became airborne, landing in the secondary screening area of the bridge. The driver and a passenger, a couple who had visited a casino in the U.S. earlier that day, were both killed in the blast.
Following the explosion at the bridge, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Buffalo, New York, described the situation as “fluid” and coordinated with law enforcement agencies. The FBI stated that preliminary findings did not suggest a terrorism link. However, the incident’s timing, just before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, heightened security measures across the region.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul said, “I want to be very, very clear to Americans and New Yorkers, at this time there is no indication of a terrorist attack.”
She continued, “Based on what is happening in the world, everyone is on edge. This is an international border. I won’t call it an accident yet. All we know is there was a horrific incident, a crash, a loss of life – but at this time: no known terrorism activity.”
As a precaution, three other bridges between western New York and Ontario, including the Peace, Whirlpool, and Lewiston-Queenston bridges, were temporarily closed. The Buffalo-Niagara International Airport also implemented security checks on all cars and advised passengers to expect additional screenings.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the White House were briefed on the situation. Trudeau, addressing the Canadian Parliament, emphasized the gravity of the incident and assured the public that it was being taken extremely seriously.
Eyewitnesses near the bridge reported hearing a loud crash followed by the sight of fire and thick black smoke. The explosion caused significant damage to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection area and raised questions about the security of critical infrastructure.