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FBI Investigates ‘Vehicle Explosion’ at Rainbow Bridge on US-Canada Border

New York governor confirms her office is working with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The FBI confirmed Wednesday it is investigating a “vehicle explosion” on the Rainbow Bridge on the U.S.–Canada border that shut down the crossing near Niagara Falls.

While it provided few details, the bureau’s Buffalo, New York, office wrote on social media that it launched an investigation and is coordinating with local officials. “As this situation is very fluid, that’s all we can say at this time,” the FBI statement said.

A vehicle was attempting to enter the U.S. side of the border, said a spokesperson for the Niagara Falls mayor’s office. Few details were provided.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul released a statement Wednesday, saying she was “briefed on the situation” at the bridge. “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 traveling to Buffalo to meet with law enforcement and emergency responders and will update New Yorkers when more information becomes available,” her statement said.

At a later news conference Wednesday, the governor said that “at this time, there is no indication of a terrorist attack.”

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The vehicle, she added, was “basically incinerated,” adding that pieces of the car are “scattered over 13, 14 booths so it is a large scene.”

“We’re going to make sure the public is safe before they go back on the Rainbow Bridge,” Ms. Hochul said. She added that a New York resident was involved in the explosion, but offered no other details. Other Details Erie County Sheriff John Garcia told local media outlets that specialty teams are involved in the probe as well. His office also deployed a bomb squad, he said.

There were anonymously sourced reports saying that the incident might be terror-related. Unnamed sources told Fox News and other outlets that explosives were located in the vehicle and that two people who were in the car are dead.

Reports indicate that the Rainbow Bridge was shut down at 11:51 a.m. ET due to the crash. Video footage currently shows smoke surrounding the bridge.

Photos and video taken by bystanders and posted on social media showed thick smoke, flames on the pavement, and a security booth that had been singed by flames. Videos showed that the fire was in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection area just east of the main vehicle checkpoint.

A clip of security camera footage that was provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed the car traveling at a high rate of speed before going airborne.

Speaking to WGRZ-TV, witness Mike Guenther said he saw a vehicle speeding toward the crossing from the U.S. 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 40 feet high,” he told the station. “I never saw anything like it.”

The bridge was reported closed at 11:51 a.m. because of the crash, according to the technology coalition. Camera footage from the coalition shows haze surrounding the bridge.

Confirming bridge closures, the Niagara Falls police said the bridge was closed after what officials called an “incident involving a vehicle coming into the United States.” There have been conflicting reports, however, about the direction the vehicle was going.

Airports have also taken precautions, officials have said. “The (Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority) has increased security throughout its system, including at the airport, due to the situation at the Rainbow Bridge,” said Helen Tederous, a spokesperson for the authority, which helps operate the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, according to the Buffalo News.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in a statement that his office is “closely monitoring the situation” and urged members of the public to follow the “guidance from emergency officials.”

Later on Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on social media platform X that President Joe Biden was briefed on the Rainbow Bridge explosion and that his team is “closely following developments.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told members of Parliament that officials were “taking this extraordinary seriously,” without elaborating.  The prime minister later said that “additional measures” were being contemplated and activated at border crossings across the country.

The bridge, which was constructed in 1941, is just about 1,440 feet in length and has a main span constructed of steel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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