A speeding car crashed into flames on the New York state-Ontario bridge in Niagara Falls on Wednesday, killing two people in the vehicle and sparking a security scare that closed four US-Canada border crossings.
Hours later, federal and state authorities said investigators had found no evidence of terrorism, although the circumstances surrounding the Rainbow Bridge crash remained unclear, leaving it unclear whether it was accidental or intentional.
“At this time, there is no indication of a terrorist attack” or threat to the public, New York Gov. Kathy Hotchul told reporters Wednesday night. Her comments were echoed by federal and local law enforcement officials at a separate press conference.
The FBI said in a statement that it had concluded its investigation. “An investigation of the scene revealed no explosive materials and no terrorist connection was identified,” the FBI said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Video of the crash captured by a security camera and posted on X by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows the car traveling on the US side at high speed, then hitting an object and flying into the of air before falling to the ground and bursting into flames.
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The driver and a passenger were killed in the wreck and a CBP officer suffered minor injuries. He was taken to a hospital and released, an agency official later said.
Authorities have not identified the two people who were killed. CNN reported that the driver was a 56-year-old man who was traveling in a Bentley car with his wife to attend a concert by the rock band KISS.
A performance by the band scheduled for Wednesday in Toronto as part of the group’s farewell tour was canceled after one of its members, Paul Stanley, came down with the flu.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on its website that Buffalo Niagara International Airport was closed, but Hotchul said there were no disruptions.
The crash occurred at a time of heightened security concerns around the world due to the conflict in the Middle East and at the height of holiday travel in the US on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Rainbow Bridge and the three other border crossings along the Niagara River between western New York and the Canadian province of Ontario — the Peace Bridge, the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and the Whirlpool Bridge — were closed for several hours as a precaution.
Other international crossings remained open on “high alert,” the governor said.
Security measures were stepped up at other airports and railroads operated by the Niagara-Border Transit Authority, as well as at various locations around New York, officials said.
The three non-involved bridges reopened early Wednesday night, but the Rainbow Crossing remained closed during the investigation and as officials assessed the safety of the crossing.
Hochul said the crashed car sailed over an 8-foot-tall fence before landing on a fireball that incinerated the vehicle, leaving little but the engine visibly intact and scattering debris across more than a dozen safety chambers on the bridge.
Witness Mike Guenther told Buffalo’s WGRZ-TV that he was walking near the bridge with his wife when the car, traveling at high speed, hit a guardrail at the crossing and became airborne before exploding.
“It was flying, over 100 miles an hour,” said Guenther, who was visiting from Kitchener, Ontario. He said the vehicle, which he described as a luxury sedan, was out of control before it crashed.
“It was a ball of fire, 30 or 40 feet high, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Ginder said.
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