FBI: No Terrorism Link in Rainbow Bridge Crash and Explosion

Ashraful Arefin
3 min readNov 23, 2023
FBI: Rainbow Bridge crash, explosion not connected to terrorism

A vehicle explosion at the Rainbow Bridge border crossing between the United States and Canada killed two people and injured a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer on Wednesday, November 22, 2023. The incident caused the closure of the bridge and the evacuation of the nearby area.

According to the FBI, the explosion occurred around 2:30 p.m. ET, when a tractor-trailer carrying fireworks and propane tanks approached the U.S. inspection booth on the bridge, which connects Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario. The vehicle suddenly burst into flames and exploded, creating a large fireball and a plume of smoke that could be seen from miles away.

The driver and the passenger of the vehicle, who have not been identified yet, were pronounced dead at the scene. A CBP officer who was inspecting the vehicle suffered burns and shrapnel wounds and was taken to a hospital in stable condition. No other injuries were reported.

The FBI said that it was investigating the cause and the motive of the explosion, but that there was no indication of any connection to terrorism or any threat to public safety. The FBI also said that it was working with the CBP, the ATF, the New York State Police, the Niagara Falls Police Department, and the Canadian authorities to gather evidence and interview witnesses.

The Rainbow Bridge, which is one of the busiest border crossings in North America, was shut down for several hours as emergency crews responded to the incident and cleared the debris. The bridge was reopened to traffic around 8 p.m. ET, after inspections and repairs were completed. The explosion also affected the nearby Niagara Falls State Park and the Niagara Falls tourist attractions, which were evacuated and closed for the rest of the day.

The Rainbow Bridge, which was built in 1941, is a steel arch bridge that spans the Niagara River and offers a scenic view of the Niagara Falls. The bridge is a popular destination for tourists and commuters, as well as a vital link for trade and commerce between the two countries. The bridge handles an average of 3.5 million vehicles and 9.2 million passengers per year.

The explosion at the Rainbow Bridge was the second major incident involving a vehicle carrying explosives at a U.S.-Canada border crossing in the past year. In June 2023, a car bomb detonated at the Peace Arch border crossing between Washington state and British Columbia, killing four people and injuring 12 others. The attack was claimed by a radical environmental group called Earth First!, which said it was targeting the oil and gas industry. The FBI arrested three suspects in connection with the bombing in August 2023.



Ashraful Arefin

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