Niagara Falls Police release names of two people killed in Rainbow Bridge crash

On the scene in Niagara Falls

The day's major News events, business reports, sports updates, Rochester area weather information and tomorrow's forecast are presented by the News10NBC Team.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Niagara Falls Police have released the names of the couple killed in the fiery crash at the Rainbow Bridge on Wednesday.

According to our Buffalo affiliate, the victims are husband Kurt Villani and wife Monica Villani, both 53 of Grand Island, New York. The FBI has confirmed that the crash was not a case of terrorism. Niagara Falls Police say the investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.

The crash happened on the American side of the U.S.-Canada border just before 11:30 a.m. The speeding car went airborne when it the median and struck into a border patrol booth. A worker inside the booth was released from the hospital with minor injuries.

News10NBC was in Niagara Falls covering the crash on Wednesday. Gov. Kathy Hochul spoke about the crash, calling it a “tragic accident.”

Multiple sources tell our Buffalo affiliate that the driver of the car was a business owner in that area with his wife on the way to Toronto for a concert. Those sources are also saying the crash may have been caused by a medical emergency.

All four bridges between Western New York and Canada were closed immediately after the crash but they have since reopened. The Rainbow Bridge reopened to traffic on Thursday night. The Peace Bridge, Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, and Whirlpool Bridge opened before that.

The FBI’s Buffalo Field Office confirmed that terrorism is not suspected and their investigation found no explosive materials. The FBI released this statement:

“FBI Buffalo has concluded our investigation at the scene of the Rainbow Bridge incident. A search of the scene revealed no explosive materials, and no terrorism nexus was identified. The matter has been turned over to the Niagara Falls Police Department as a traffic investigation. The FBI thanks our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners for their assistance, and we remain committed in our mission to keeping the public safe.”

Surveillance video from Canadian Border Patrol shows the moment the speeding car went airborne. It burst into flames at a checkpoint at the Rainbow Bridge.

Surveillance video from the border crossing shows the car crashing into a booth at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

All international flights to and from the Buffalo airport have resumed. According to an FBI Twitter post, they are coordinating with local, state and federal law enforcement partners.

The AP reports that the vehicle exploded at a checkpoint on the American side of a U.S.-Canada bridge, leaving two people dead and prompting the closing of four border crossings in the area, authorities said.

There was no immediate information on the cause of the explosion. The two deceased people were in the vehicle, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The official was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said officials were “taking this extraordinarily seriously,” and the White House said President Joe Biden was “closely following developments,” the AP reported.

“This is obviously a very serious situation in Niagara Falls,” Trudeau said in Parliament before excusing himself from Question Period in the House of Commons to be briefed further.

New York State Police and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force investigate at the Rainbow Bridge in Buffalo. (Photo: NBC News)