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FBI: Deadly US-Canada border crash 'revealed no explosive materials'

New York police worked with the FBI to monitor all points of entry into the United States after a dramatic, explosive and deadly vehicle crash.
FBI: Deadly explosive vehicle crash closes US-Canada border crossing
Posted at 2:08 PM, Nov 22, 2023

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said it began an investigation involving multiple agencies and state police in New York after a vehicle reportedly accelerated at a high rate of speed and ended up in an explosive crash at a checkpoint on the Rainbow Bridge near Niagara Falls, Scripps News Buffalo reported

The FBI in Buffalo announced late on Wednesday that the multi-agency investigation "revealed no explosive materials" and said "no terrorism nexus was identified."

The FBI said the investigation was "turned over" to police in Niagara Falls, and is now being investigated as a traffic incident. 

Border crossings linking the United States and Canada were closed down following the incident, the FBI said. An official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity said two people were found dead in the vehicle that crashed.

The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission said all four of its crossings — Rainbow, Lewiston, Whirlpool and Peace Bridge — were closed briefly on Wednesday, just as Thanksgiving travelers prepared to head out for the holiday, and as shoppers on both sides of the border picked up last minute items before store closures. 

Officials said the Buffalo International Airport would remain fully operational but had implemented additional security measures. CPB said the Rainbow Bridge would remain closed "out of an abundance of caution." CPB said at least three Buffalo-area crossings were reopened after the investigation began. State highway patrol updated residents on those reopenings on their X page. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul was briefed on the situation and said New York State Police began to actively work with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force to monitor all points of entry into the state of New York during their investigation. 

Robert McDonald, a former Secret Service Agent, told Scripps News that New York, Canada and border authorities were working with a number of agencies that have a variety of specialties. McDonald said it is always possible that a heavy vehicle crash could cause some sort of explosion, and said earlier on Wednesday it was too early in the investigation to definitively determine if the incident was terror related. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also briefed on the situation and he said in a statement reported on by CTV News in Canada that he has been in contact with U.S. officials and said Canadian authorities were "fully engaged and providing all necessary support."

Trudeau also said that additional security measures were brought to all border crossings across Canada.

Scripps News Buffalo spoke to people waiting in cars at the U.S.-Canada border trying to cross into Canada to see family for the holiday. They expressed frustration as it remained unclear early on Wednesday night how long those border crossings would remain closed. 

President Joe Biden was briefed on the matter, and the White House said it was closely following any developments.

Precise details on the extent of the damage caused weren't immediately clear, but images and videos shared on social media showed a security booth damaged by flames and possibly a blast. 

CPB said no U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel were injured in the incident. 

Later on Wednesday night Buffalo's airport said its heightened security alert was lifted and said police would continue to "maintain an increased security presence" during the busy holiday travel season. 

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