Rainbow Bridge: Couple killed in Niagara Falls fireball crash named

A couple killed when their luxury car slammed into a border checkpoint in Niagara Falls and exploded in a fireball triggering a security scare have been identified.

Police have named the victims as husband and wife Kurt and Monica Villani, both 53, of Grand Island, New York, whose family owns a lumber business and several hardware stores in the Buffalo area.

An investigation is underway into what caused the Bentley Flying Spur to crash at the Rainbow Bridge, linking New York state and Ontario, on Wednesday.

Security footage showed the vehicle traveling from the US side of the border at high speed before hitting an object, flying into the air and then hurtling into a row of security booths where it burst into flames.

A US customs officer suffered minor injuries at the scene and was treated at a nearby hospital before being released later.

The incident immediately raised concerns on both sides of the border of a terrorist attack, prompting the closure of four US-Canadian border crossings in the area and a halt to international flights at Buffalo International Airport.

An initial investigation by the authorities, including the FBI, found it was not terror-related and turned the case over to local police.

Traffic investigators are looking at whether medical or mechanical issues may have contributed to the tragedy, Niagara Falls police chief John Faso said.