No sign of terrorism in blast that killed 2 at U.S.-Canada border in Niagara Falls, governor says

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Posted by jammer from the Technology category at 23 Nov 2023 06:40:46 am.
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By Minyvonne Burke, Tom Winter and Jonathan Dienst

Tragically, two lives were claimed in an explosion at the Canadian border. Officials have confirmed that the incident occurred when a car, in mid-air, collided with a checkpoint at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, New York, on Wednesday.

Significant ambiguity persisted regarding the incident at the Rainbow Bridge, giving rise to concerns on both sides of the border as the United States approached the Thanksgiving holiday. In response, President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were promptly apprised of the situation. Trudeau, recognizing the importance of obtaining more information, temporarily withdrew from the Question Period in the House of Commons, highlighting the extraordinary seriousness with which officials were treating the matter.

Governor Kathy Hochul of New York informed the media that there are no immediate indications of terrorism at the moment.

The speaker's declaration assures that there is no evidence suggesting a terrorist attack. It is worth reiterating that, as of now, there is no indication of a terrorist-linked incident occurring at the Rainbow Bridge in Western New York.

Both casualties were passengers in the car that collided, and it has been confirmed that at least one of them was a native of western New York.

In contrast to early reports indicating its Canadian origin, the car, reportedly traveling at a high rate of speed, crashed, caught fire, and exploded on the U.S. side of the border, according to officials.

Hochul mentioned that she has observed a recording of the car, which was racing at an "unusually high rate of speed" before it soared through an "absolutely surreal" sequence of events.

Upon spotting the "airborne" car, Rickie Wilson, who is employed by Gray Line Tours, was taken aback. He described how the vehicle had apparently collided with a cement median before taking flight.
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Wilson informed NBC affiliate WHEC of Rochester that initially, he mistook it for an airplane, as it appeared to be moving in slow motion. He exclaimed, "My goodness, it's a car! It's a vehicle! And it's soaring through the sky!"

According to his estimation, the car was airborne at a height ranging from 10 to 15 feet.

Wilson informed the reporters about the perplexing situation, questioning the means by which the object had ascended to such heights. Expressing his astonishment, he emphasized that the object had been suspended in the air, clarifying that it was not merely a few feet above the ground, but significantly elevated.

According to a law enforcement official, a Customs and Border Protection employee sustained minor injuries and was expeditiously treated at a hospital. Hochul underscored that the employee was stationed in the booth, which effectively served as a protective barrier for the individual.

Hochul remarked that the vehicle has essentially turned into ashes, leaving behind only the engine. The remnants of the vehicle are now scattered across a range of 13 to 14 booths.
Explosion near Niagara Falls
As per law enforcement officials, a preliminary examination did not detect any secondary explosive or device. It is worth noting that this information is still in its early stages and may be subject to revision.

A thorough investigation is being carried out by the authorities to ascertain whether the crash was intentional.

At a media briefing, Hochul stated that the incident was a "horrific accident" that caused a great deal of anxiety from western New York to Albany to Washington.

It transpired amidst the hustle and bustle of one of the United States' busiest travel days, as people from all over the nation set off on their journeys to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.
Shortly after the crash, the Erie County executive announced the temporary closure of all bridge crossings into the United States from western New York. Hochul later confirmed that all bridges have been reopened.

In light of the upcoming holiday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has confirmed that security has been heightened and the city is currently on high alert.

As per an official, the White House is actively monitoring the situation. The Canada Border Services Agency has reported that they are in close coordination with their U.S. counterparts on this particular matter.

In regards to the incident, Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security, has assured that there is no indication of any threat at present. He has been in contact with Hochul and officials from Canada to stay updated on the situation.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has declared its intention to boost security measures throughout its system.

Buffalo Niagara International Airport has informed passengers that they will face additional screenings, and all vehicles entering the airport will be subjected to security checks, as per the latest directive issued by the airport management.

In a statement released on X, the agency confirmed that both the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Airports are fully functional. As travelers embark on their holiday journeys, it is advised to allocate extra time for these supplementary safety measures.

Wednesday's announcement from Amtrak revealed that the Maple Leaf Train, running from New York City to Toronto, will be concluding its trip at Niagara Falls due to an unforeseen incident.

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