Thursday, July 18, 2024
Thursday, July 18, 2024
Home » Rainbow Bridge: Police Identify Couple Killed in US-Canada Border Crash

Rainbow Bridge: Police Identify Couple Killed in US-Canada Border Crash

by Grayson Henderson
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Police have identified the victims of a deadly car blast at a border crossing between the US and Canada.

Kurt Villani and his wife Monica Villani, both 53, died when their car became airborne and crashed on the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls.

They lived 10 miles (16km) south of the crash site in Grand Island, New York.

A US border agent was also injured in the incident on Wednesday, which prompted a large emergency response and the closure of four border crossings.

The security scare came on the eve of American Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul later ruled out terrorism.

The couple’s family owns a chain of hardware and lumber stores in New York State.

In a statement released to CBC, the family said they were grateful for the “prayers, condolences and well wishes” they had received.

It is still unclear what caused the couple’s vehicle to rapidly accelerate before it flew through the air and burst into flames.

The mayor of Niagara Falls in New York, Robert Restaino, told the New York Times on Thursday that the couple had been driving an older Bentley vehicle and were on their way to a concert in Canada, thought to be a Kiss show that was later cancelled due to illness in the band.

He added that police are investigating several possibilities behind the crash, including whether the car suffered a mechanical failure that caused it to accelerate.

The incident happened at around 11:30 local time (16:30 GMT) on Wednesday.

Gov Hochul said the car travelled at a “very high rate of speed”, hurtling over an 8ft (2.4m) fence on the New York side of the border near a checkpoint.

The vehicle was “incinerated”, she said, with nothing left but the engine. A registration plate was not even recovered.

Traffic information board reading 'All Borders Crossings To USA Closed' is seen on Queen Elizabeth Way highway in Hamilton
Image caption,The incident caused major traffic disruption on one of the busiest travel days of the year

The Rainbow Bridge, which connects motorists and pedestrians between Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Canada, was closed for two days following the incident.

Other bridges connecting the US and Canada nearby, the Peace, Queenston-Lewiston and Whirlpool Rapids Bridges, were temporarily closed but reopened on Wednesday evening.

The FBI took over the initial investigation, and later said it found “no explosive materials, and no terrorism nexus”.

The case was then handed over to the Niagara Falls Police Department in New York State which is handling it as a traffic investigation.

On Friday, police said that investigation was ongoing and gave no additional details.

Source : BBC

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