Vehicle explosion at Rainbow Bridge shuts down four border crossings

November 22, 2023

Tyson Fisher


Editor’s note: Later in the evening on Wednesday, Nov. 22, officials announced the explosion at Rainbow Bridge was did not appear to be terrorist attack. According to NBC News, the car entered the border crossing from the U.S. side, traveling at a high rate of speed when it crashed, caught fire and exploded. The Rainbow Bridge border crossing remained closed as an investigation into the incident continued. The other three border crossings have since reopened to cross-border traffic.

A vehicle explosion at the New York-Canada border crossing at the Rainbow Bridge has shut down all four bridge crossings in the region as law enforcement officials try to figure out what happened.

On Wednesday, Nov. 22, a passenger vehicle crossing the Rainbow Bridge from Canada to the United States exploded. Photos posted by media outlets on social media show a security booth in flames. Media reports following the incident have varied on the car’s direction of travel.

Information obtained by Land Line reveals that the vehicle was heading through a checkpoint when driver was told to go to a secondary search. While the driver attempted to evade the secondary search an explosive was apparently then set off in the vehicle.

As of 3:15 p.m. Eastern time, there was no official word regarding what happened. In a statement issued at about 1:15 p.m., the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Buffalo office said that it was investigating the Rainbow Bridge explosion.

Sources told Land Line that the incident is being investigated as a possible terrorist attack. However, there has been no official statement calling the incident a terrorist attack as of press time.

The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission has reported that all four of its border crossing bridges are closed. Those include the Lewiston-Queenston, Rainbow, Whirlpool and Peace bridges. Traffic is closed on both sides of the border.

A statement issued by Gov. Kathy Hochul indicated that all points of entry to New York are under surveillance.

“I have been briefed on the situation that occurred at the Rainbow Bridge in Buffalo,” Gov. Hochul said in the statement. “At my direction, the New York State Police is actively working with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to monitor all points of entry to New York. I am traveling to Buffalo to meet with law enforcement and emergency responders and will update New Yorkers when more information becomes available.”

Several news outlets have reported that the two occupants in the vehicle were killed. There have been no other reports of injuries or fatalities. Piere Poilievre, a member of Canada’s Parliament and candidate for prime minister, also reported two dead in an address to Parliament.

Congress warned of potential attacks

On Oct. 31, FBI Director Chris Wray warned Congress that Hamas’ attacks against Israel could inspire attacks in the United States.

And Doug Morris, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s director of safety and security operations, told Land Line Now on Nov. 2 that in addition to buildings occupied by Jewish people, infrastructure including bridges also may be targeted.

Morris also discussed how truckers can remain vigilant when it comes to potential terrorist activity. Any trucker who sees something suspicious can call 800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324).

On Monday, Nov. 20, CBS News reported that it had obtained information about increased threats of a possible terrorist attack in New York City. A new threat assessment by the New York State Intelligence Center suggested that the Israel-Palestine conflict “is driving chatter about targets in New York,” according to the report. LL

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