The Niagara Falls Police Department on Friday identified the couple reportedly killed in the Rainbow Bridge blast at the US-Canada border.
The couple has been identified as Kurt and Monica Villani, both 53.
“The pair had been on their way to a KISS concert when the incident occurred, sparking fears of a terror attack and shutting down the border crossing for hours,” Daily Mail reports.
It remains unconfirmed what led to the incident.
Niagara Falls father Kurt Villani, 53, who was killed along with wife Monica in horror Rainbow Bridge Bentley explosion
Kurt and Monica Villani, 53, were driving a $300,000 Bentley in the crash
Friends say they'd been having problems with the gas pedal in prior weeks
— Tony Seruga (@TonySeruga) November 24, 2023
The @NiagaraFallsPD have identified the two people killed in a high speed crash on the American side of the Rainbow Bridge on Wednesday Morning: Kurt P Villani, 53, and his wife Monica Villani, 53, both of Grand Island New York.
“The incident is currently under investigation by… pic.twitter.com/fzemnXc9CY
— Casey Bortnick (@CaseyJBortnick) November 24, 2023
Daily Mail reports:
The pair were in a Bentley being driven by Mr. Villani at the time and had told friends there was a problem with the accelerator in the weeks before the accident. Bentley is yet to comment on the tragedy.
The crash set off fears of an attempted terror attack although New York Governor Kathy Hochul has since confirmed that there is no evidence of this. The governor referred to the victims as ‘local individuals.’
Villani and his wife were residents of Grand Island, New York, less than ten miles south of where the crash took place. They were married in May 1995.
The couple is survived by their two children, son, Kurt Jr. and daughter, Mia. The couple’s son was a hockey prodigy in his youth and was part of the Buffalo Sabres’ organization.
Police have said that the couple were seen leaving the Seneca Niagara Casino, close to the border crossing, before crashing.
On Thursday, members of the community on Grand Island paid tribute to the pair as a generous and thoughtful couple.
NEW YORK: A wealthy couple of Grand Island, Kurt and Monica Villani (53), were identified as the occupants of the car that exploded at the Rainbow Bridge border crossing in Niagara Falls. Investigators believe that the $300K Bentley may have suffered mechanical failure.
— KolHaolam (@KolHaolam) November 24, 2023
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) November 24, 2023
Superintendent Faso said the car that crashed had stopped at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, which is owned by the Seneca Nation, shortly before the accident. This was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Seneca Nation who said: “We have reviewed and provided information related to a vehicle that stopped at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino only for a matter of minutes shortly before the crash occurred.”
According to local newspaper The Buffalo News, the two victims may have been planning to attend a concert in Toronto on Wednesday night.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul confirmed the vehicle that crashed had been completely destroyed.
She said: “If you can imagine, this vehicle basically incinerated. Nothing is left but the engine. The pieces are scattered over 13, 14 booths.”Advertisement
As 100 Percent Fed Up noted, media outlets first reported the incident as an ‘attempted terrorist attack.’
However, the reports were walked back upon the gathering of additional information.
CNN is reporting that the driver of the vehicle that Fox claimed was full of explosives was a 56-year-old man who lived in a very upscale area that had intended to go to the kiss concert.. he was driving a $300k Bentley with his wife. CNN says it loos like a terrible accident pic.twitter.com/CPlLuRk2TQ
— Acyn (@Acyn) November 22, 2023
“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,” FBI Buffalo said in a statement.
— FBI Buffalo (@FBIBuffalo) November 23, 2023