Two people died Wednesday afternoon when a vehicle exploded on the Rainbow Bridge connecting the United States and Canada, and a border guard was injured, Reuters writes. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating the incident as an attempted terrorist attack. Footage from local television station WKBW shows one of the checkpoints destroyed. The extent of the explosion is visible on photographs on the X network.
Fox News, citing a “high-ranking police source,” reported that the vehicle in question was on its way from the US to Canada. The two dead are people who were in the vehicle, according to the station. The station said they “appeared to be trying to hit a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) building.” Canada’s Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said it was “too early to judge whether this was an intentional act,” according to Reuters.
However, unnamed sources familiar with the investigation later told Reuters that, according to preliminary conclusions, the explosion was the result of irresponsible driving.
“I was walking on the bridge with my wife when we saw a car coming down, it could have been going over 100 miles per hour (over 160 km/h) when another vehicle appeared in front of it. He zigzagged around him and crashed into a fence. The car first caught fire and then exploded,” witness Mike Guenther told local TV station WGRZ. “All of a sudden it went up in the air and then there was a ball of fire, about 30 to 40 feet high (nine to 12 meters). I’ve never seen anything like it,” Guenther added.
The Rainbow Bridge is one of four bridges that connect the state of New York with Ontario, Canada. According to the local bridge authority, the explosion on the Rainbow Bridge closed all four. The local FBI office declined to immediately comment on the situation, according to CBS. “Everything is going very smoothly, that’s all we can say for now,” she said only.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told ABC News that she was on her way to nearby Buffalo to meet with law enforcement officials and would release more information as soon as possible.
“At my direction, the New York State Police is working with the FBI’s counterterrorism division to monitor all access points into (state) New York,” the governor said.
Canadian Public Safety Minister LeBlanc plans to speak with US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas today. According to him, Canada takes the incident “very seriously” and has strengthened security measures at border crossings. According to Reuters, the White House responded by saying that it was closely monitoring the situation.