Niagara Falls police named the couple as Kurt and Monica Villani, both 53, of Grand Island, New York. It has not yet been announced how their car exploded at the Rainbow Bridge border crossing. The car they were driving sped through the intersection, hit the embankment and flew to the guard house where it exploded.
People got out of the car and, together with passers-by, looked confusedly at the burning car. At that moment, it was not known what happened, and there was a suspicion that it was a terrorist act. The incident worried authorities from both countries, and the other three border crossings between America and Canada across the Niagara River were also closed as a precaution.
The FBI went to the field and investigated whether a terrorist attack was involved, but no grounds were found, so the investigation was handed over to the local police, the Voice of America reports.
It will take time to investigate the case
The police from Niagara Falls stated in a statement that the investigation is complex and that it will take time to determine the cause of the explosion.
Most of the evidence that could facilitate the investigation was destroyed in the explosion. "The City of Niagara Falls extends its condolences to the families of those killed in this tragedy," the statement said. New York State Governor Kathy Hokul described the accident as "unreal" and said the vehicle was almost completely burned.
She expressed her condolences to the families of the victims and asked the competent authorities to shed light on this case as soon as possible. Security was heightened at the nearby Buffalo airport and elsewhere, and the added challenge was that the explosion occurred just before Thanksgiving - when many people travel and roads and airports are at their busiest.
In one part of the country, this accident overshadowed the celebration of Thanksgiving. We hope that such and similar accidents will not remain uninvestigated in the right way, because when we find the cause of the incident, the consequences will be clearer to us.
About 6,000 vehicles pass through the Rainbow Bridge border crossing every day, while on Thanksgiving Day that figure was certainly much higher.