Investigators suspect that a mechanical malfunction may have been responsible for the vehicle detonation that occurred at a U.S.-Canada border crossing in New York on Wednesday morning.
The New York Post reported that the Niagara Falls Police Department is investigating whether the vehicle malfunctioned when it collided with an obstruction at the Rainbow Bridge crossing and caught fire.
“We’re investigating every issue,” Superintendent John Faso said.
An additional hypothetical scenario entails the vehicle’s operator experiencing a medical episode; however, Faso asserts that there is presently “no confirmation of that.”
Faso further verified that the automobile in question was a 2022 Bentley Flying Spur, a model that, according to the Post, costs $300,000.
Footage shows the aftermath of the explosion near the Rainbow Bridge connecting the U.S. and Canada at Niagara Falls, New York.
— ABC News (@ABC) November 22, 2023
The occupants of the vehicle have been identified as Kurt and Monica Villani, both 53 years old and residents of Grand Island, New York. Both victims perished in the collision.
Wednesday at approximately 11:30 a.m., the detonation occurred as the couple was leaving a Niagara Falls casino in the direction of Canada. They were reportedly en route to Toronto for a KISS concert.
Traveling at “a very high rate of speed,” according to Gov. Kathy Hochul, their vehicle hit a median and flew through the air before striking a Border Patrol checkpoint booth and exploding.
BREAKING: Video released by CBP shows vehicle airborne before U.S.-Canada border crash pic.twitter.com/2pJuRkZOGm
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) November 22, 2023
The cubicle was occupied by a Border Patrol agent who sustained minor injuries, according to The New York Times.
As a result of the detonation, conjecture arose regarding the potentiality of a terrorist attack.
Three additional bridges connecting the United States and Canada were shut down, and Buffalo Niagara International Airport was closed to incoming and outgoing international aircraft, as a precaution.
As soon as officials, including Hochul, determined that the detonation was not terrorist-related, the FBI referred the matter to the local police as a “traffic investigation.”
“On Thursday,” the Times reported, “the police department’s accident reconstruction team was tracing the couple’s journey from [the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino] downtown to the border crossing.”
According to a casino spokesperson, the Villanis were only present for a short while.
The investigation is ongoing and “will take some time to complete,” Faso said.