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Victims of Rainbow Bridge crash identified as American couple

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The two people who were killed in Wednesday’s crash at the Rainbow Bridge border crossing have been identified as a married couple.

In a press release issued on Friday, the Niagara Falls Police Department said the occupants of the vehicle that caught on fire are 53-year-old Kurt P. Villani and his wife, 53-year-old Monica Villani, both of Grand Island, New York.

The incident is still under investigation by the Niagara Falls Police Department’s crash management unit. No further details about the crash have been released.

On Thursday, the police force described the incident as complex and indicated the investigation would “take some time to complete.”

Video of the incident shows a white car travelling at a high rate of speed before hitting a median and flying into the air before crashing down. New York Governor Kathy Hochul said the car and border crossing booth burst into flames following the incident.

"You actually had to look at and say, was this generated by AI because it was so surreal to see how high in the air this vehicle went. And then the crash and explosion and the fire," Hochul said on Wednesday.

A U.S. border patrol officer sustained minor injuries as a result of the crash and was taken to hospital for treatment.

The incident resulted in a 24-hour closure of the Rainbow Bridge border crossing, as well as a brief closure of other border crossings in Niagara, Ont. as a precaution.

The crash was initially treated as a potential terrorist incident; however it was quickly determined to be a traffic incident.

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