Niagara Falls: "Smoke everywhere": FBI investigates fatal car explosion on the US-Canada border

A car exploded at the US-Canada border.

Niagara Falls: "Smoke everywhere": FBI investigates fatal car explosion on the US-Canada border

A car exploded at the US-Canada border. The incident happened at the border crossing between the US state of New York and the Canadian province of Ontario near the famous Niagara Falls, said the Governor of New York State, Kathy Hochul, on Wednesday via the short message service X, formerly Twitter.

At this point in time, however, there is no evidence of a terrorist attack, the governor said at a later press conference. But it will take a while until we find out what happened.

“We take this extremely seriously,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They are in close contact with the US authorities. A total of four border crossings have been closed.

The exact course of the incident was initially unclear and there were contradictory reports. According to an eyewitness, the car in question flew several meters high through the air. The vehicle drove at high speed on the US side towards the border with Canada on Wednesday afternoon (local time), said eyewitness Rickie Wilson in front of TV cameras. Then it flew three to four meters high through the air and finally exploded.

Canadian Mike Guenther, who traveled to the USA for Thanksgiving, told US broadcaster CBS that the car was racing towards the border at "more than 100 miles per hour" (more than 160 kilometers per hour). "It was so fast we could barely see it." The car overtook another vehicle, crashed into a barrier and flew through the air. Then all he saw was a “ball of fire” and “smoke everywhere,” said Guenther.

Another eyewitness told the Niagara Gazette newspaper that he and a friend saw a car driving from a parking lot toward the bridge on the U.S. side of the border. "We heard something banging," reported eyewitness Ivan Vitali from Ukraine. "We saw fire and a lot of black smoke."

The two occupants of the car were dead, the US broadcaster CNN initially reported, citing unnamed sources. Governor Hochul confirmed this information at the later press conference. Otherwise there were no further fatalities, it was said. A border guard slightly injured. There were initially no details about the extent of the damage to the border facilities.

The White House said US President Joe Biden had been informed of the incident. He and his team followed developments closely. Hochul announced that he would travel to Buffalo and meet police and rescue workers there.

The state police are working together with the FBI's terrorism unit to monitor all access routes to New York, Governor Hochul said. Three other border crossings with Canada in western New York were also initially closed, authorities said. Security precautions have been increased at other border crossings and at some airports. Some official buildings in cities near the incident closed earlier than usual.

Thursday marks the holiday of Thanksgiving in the USA, when family and friends traditionally gather. The day before has some of the busiest traffic of the entire year.

Note: This article has been updated