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2 people were killed in vehicle explosion at U.S.-Canada border crossing bridge

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

In the middle of the Thanksgiving travel rush, a crash along the U.S. border with Canada yesterday put people on alert from the White House to Ottawa. A speeding vehicle went airborne and plowed into a busy checkpoint at Niagara Falls, N.Y. The explosion that followed killed two people inside the vehicle, and it prompted authorities to shut down other New York border crossings and stop international flights from leaving or arriving at the closest airport in Buffalo. Then, hours later...

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KATHY HOCHUL: At this time, there is no indication of a terrorist attack.

MARTÍNEZ: Even so, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said the precautions were warranted.

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HOCHUL: This is one of the busiest crossings not just in western New York, but along the entire U.S.-Canadian border. And it happens on the busiest travel day of the year. So naturally, in a time of heightened alert, everyone's springing into action.

MARTÍNEZ: A security camera revealed a white vehicle speeding toward a line of booths at the checkpoint before hitting a low median and flying high into the air, twisting as it went.

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HOCHUL: It crashed into a Customs and Border Patrol booth, and the car and the booth immediately exploded - burst into flames. I saw the video of an airborne vehicle that was absolutely surreal. You actually had to look at it and say, was this generated by AI, because it was so surreal to see.

MARTÍNEZ: Despite the force of the crash and explosion, one person inside a Border Protection booth escaped serious harm.

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HOCHUL: The booth literally protected that individual. They went to the hospital with minor injuries and have been released.

MARTÍNEZ: The Rainbow Bridge crossing is still closed for an investigation, which the FBI has now turned over to local police. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.