On Wednesday night, the FBI announced the transfer of the investigation into the car crash and subsequent explosion at the border earlier in the day to the Niagara Falls Police Department, treating it as a traffic-related incident.
In a statement, the FBI Buffalo reported the conclusion of their investigation at the Rainbow Bridge scene, confirming the absence of explosive materials and any connection to terrorism. This aligns with Governor Kathy Hochul’s earlier remarks, asserting that there was no evidence of a terrorist attack and no sign of explosives at the U.S. side of the Rainbow Bridge connecting to Canada at Niagara Falls, New York.
The incident involved a vehicle speeding towards a U.S. border checkpoint, colliding with a booth, exploding, and becoming airborne, resulting in fatalities for both the driver and passenger. Governor Hochul described the surreal scene at a press conference, emphasizing the absence of a license plate and the extensive destruction of the vehicle, which complicated the investigation.
One booth agent sustained injuries and received treatment at a hospital before being released later in the day. Hochul highlighted the potentially catastrophic nature of the incident in the congested area and informed the media that the investigation would take time due to the extensive damage and debris scattered over 13 booths.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas reiterated the non-terror nature of the incident in a statement shortly after Hochul’s press conference, pledging continued coordination with state and local officials.
While authorities closed the Rainbow Bridge following the incident, other bridges in Canada, including the Peace, Queenston-Lewiston, and Whirlpool-Rapids Bridges, reopened later in the evening after precautionary closures.
The Buffalo Niagara International Airport increased security measures, including car checks and additional travel screenings. President Joe Biden was briefed on the explosion, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau informed Canada’s parliament, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation and the implementation of additional measures at all border crossings.
In response to the incident, Toronto’s police department increased patrols. New York City Mayor Eric Adams assured heightened security measures for Thanksgiving, including increased security at various locations across the city.