Three of the four bridges linking Canada and the United States in upstate New York have reopened, as has Buffalo International Airport, with authorities now downplaying initial fears of terrorism linked to a fiery vehicle explosion on the Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge.
BUF Airport, US-Canada Border Reopens After Freak Car Explosion At Rainbow Bridge
A fiery crash on the Rainbow Bridge near Niagara Falls on Wednesday sparked immediate terrorist concerns. At approximately 11:30 am ET a speeding Bentley rammed into the border crossing on the US side, going airborne and then exploding after hitting the ground. Pieces of the vehicle landed in front of a secondary checkpoint, causing minor injuries to one US border official.
CBP is working closely with @FBI, federal, state & local partners in response to a vehicle explosion at Rainbow Bridge which remains closed. Out of abundance of caution, CBP temporarily suspended inbound/outbound traffic at 3 other Buffalo crossings that have since reopened. pic.twitter.com/pTXyUsavRB
— CBP (@CBP) November 22, 2023
The unusual incident on the busiest travel day of the year sparked immediate terrorism fears, leading to the closure of four international bridges linking Canada and the USA. It also led to the suspension of Amtrak service connecting New York and Canada and led to the temporary closure of Buffalo International Airport (BUF).
However, New York Governor Kathy Hochul later downplayed the likelihood that this incident was terrorism at a news conference:
“I want to be very, very clear to Americans and New Yorkers, at this time there is no indication of a terrorist attack.
“No indication based on online threats or anyone taking credit for this – at this time. It’s still unfolding. But I didn’t want to leave the public with any uncertainty.
“Based on what is happening in the world, everyone is on edge. This is an international border. I won’t call it an accident yet. All we know is there was a horrific incident, a crash, a loss of life – but at this time: no known terrorism activity.”
The couple who died inside the Bentley have not been named, but have been identified as New York residents who were traveling to Canada for a KISS concert. They had spent the previous night at a casino near the border.
There were justifiable fears of terrorism after a car went airborne and then exploded at a US-Canada border checkpoint yesterday. Thankfully, it appears that this incident was not terrorism-related, though there are still many more questions than answers. Bridges between the US and Canada as well as BUF Airport have reopened.