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US-Canada border crossing reopens after fatal car crash

November 24, 2023

The Rainbow Bridge crossing had been closed after a speeding car crashed into a checkpoint barrier. The FBI has handed over the case to local police after finding no evidence of terrorism.

https://p.dw.com/p/4ZO3g
Police gather at the Rainbow Bridge border crossing
On Wednesday, on the eve of Thanksgiving, a speeding car crashed into a checkpoint barrier at the Rainbow BridgeImage: Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP/picture alliance

The US-Canada border crossing at Niagara Falls reopened on Thursday a day after a car crashed into the barrier, officials said.

"Normal operations have now resumed for traveler traffic at the Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge port of entry, which recently experienced a service disruption," the Canada Border Services Agency said.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul thanked the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and the US Customs and Border Protection for "keeping New Yorkers safe during the busiest travel time of the year."

The 16-lane Rainbow Bridge, a key crossing between the US and Canada, which is normally 24 hours a day, is now fully operational.

‘It's flying through the air'

On Wednesday, on the eve of Thanksgiving, a speeding car crashed into a checkpoint barrier at the Rainbow Bridge.

A video on social media captured the moment the car, speeding from the US side, collided with an object, launched into the air, and then violently crashed to the ground, bursting into flames.

According to sources who spoke to AP, the two people who were killed were a husband and wife.

Witness Rickie Wilson said he "first thought it was an airplane.”

"I said, 'My God, it's a car. It's a vehicle, and it's flying through the air.'"

Terrorism ruled out

The investigation into the crash, initially led by the FBI, has been handed over to local police as a traffic case, after finding no evidence of terrorism.

A sign indicates that all bridges closed
The crash had prompted the closure of the Rainbow Bridge and three other bridges connecting the US and CanadaImage: John Normile/Getty Images

"A search of the scene revealed no explosive materials, and no terrorism nexus was identified," the FBI's Buffalo office said in a statement. "The matter has been turned over to the Niagara Falls Police Department as a traffic investigation."

The Niagara Falls Police Department's Crash Management Unit, which took over the investigation said in a statement that because of the "complexity of the incident" the analysis is expected to take some time to complete.

The crash prompted the closure of the Rainbow Bridge as well as three other bridges connecting western New York and Ontario, which have all since been reopened.

ss/ab (AP, AFP, Reuters)