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Multiple New York border crossings closed by car explosion

Sarah Roderick-Fitch

(The Center Square) – Multiple border crossings were closed and two people are dead after a vehicle explosion Wednesday on the Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge connecting Canada and the United States.

Federal authorities said later they were no longer probing the incident as a possible terrorist attack. Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said, alongside federal prosecutor Trini Ross at a news conference, said, "We can go on with our lives."

The explosion occurred near a border checkpoint. The car traveled at a high rate of speed, hit a low median and went into the air, according to security camera video released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Both occupants in the vehicle were killed. Their names were not released before time of this publication.

Foe a time on the afternoon before Thanksgiving Day, all four border crossings in western New York were closed for multiple hours.

There were no other reports of additional injuries on the bridge or surrounding area. The FBI confirmed the explosion and coordinated the investigation with state and local lawmen.

"The FBI Buffalo Field Office is investigating a vehicle explosion at the Rainbow Bridge, a border crossing between the U.S. and Canada in Niagara Falls," the FBI said in a release. "The FBI is coordinating with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in this investigation. As this situation is very fluid, that is all we can say at this time."

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said later Wednesday, "Based on what we know at this moment, there is no sign of terrorist activity in this crash."

The explosion came at one of the nation's busiest travel times.

"Cars coming into the Buffalo Airport will undergo security checks and travelers can expect additional screenings," said a statement from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

President Joe Biden is vacationing in Nantucket, Mass. A White House statement said the administration was "closely monitoring" the situation.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau briefly commented on the incident in Parliament, saying, "This is obviously a very serious situation in Niagara Falls." He excused himself from a Question Period in the House of Commons while being briefed on the incident.