Two people have been killed in a car explosion at the US-Canada border following a suspected crash on Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls as witnesses describe seeing a "ball of fire 30 or 40ft high".
All four land crossings between the US and Canada were closed following the blast today (November 22). Although, cameras have since showed traffic resuming at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.
The two people who were in the car are the deceased and one border patrol officer has also reportedly been injured. The blast happened on the US side of the Rainbow Bridge.
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The FBI said it is investigating the blast and described the situation as "very fluid". Despite initial reports to the contrary, senior law enforcement officials said there was no indication a bomb was inside. Dominic LeBlanc, Canada's public safety minister, said it was too soon to say if the crash was deliberate or not.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul later confirmed that "at this time, there is no indication of a terrorist attack".
Speaking to WGRZ-TV, witness Mike Guenther said he saw a vehicle speeding toward the crossing from the US side of the border when it swerved to avoid another car, crashed into a fence and exploded. "All of a sudden he went up in the air and then it was a ball of fire like 30 or 40ft high," Guenther said. "I never saw anything like it."
A statement from the FBI in Buffalo, New York, read earlier: "The FBI Buffalo Field Office is investigating a vehicle explosion at the Rainbow Bridge, a border crossing between the US and Canada in Niagara Falls. The FBI is coordinating with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in this investigation. As this situation is very fluid, that's all we can say at this time."
Both the White House and Canadian officials are following today's events.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in Parliament, as he excused himself from Question Period in the House of Commons to be briefed further on the incident, that "this is obviously a very serious situation in Niagara Falls"."We are taking this extraordinary seriously," he added.
New York Governor Hochul said earlier: "I have been briefed on the situation that occurred at the Rainbow Bridge in Buffalo. At my direction, the New York State Police is actively working with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to monitor all points of entry to New York.
"I am travelling to Buffalo to meet with law enforcement and emergency responders and will update New Yorkers when more information becomes available."
As a result of the incident, every car coming into the Buffalo Niagara International Airport was being screened with bomb-detecting dogs, according to CNN speaking to a transportation official.
The decision has since been made to close the airport to all departing and arriving international flights, the US Federal Aviation Administration said. The closure may last for up to two days.
Rainbow Bridge connects the cities of Niagara Falls, US, and Niagara Falls, Canada, and is located less than a mile away from the Niagara waterfalls. The incident comes a day before Thanksgiving, when millions of Americans visit friends and family
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