- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 20 December 2016, 9:11AM
• A truck has crashed into a crowd of people at a Christmas market in Berlin
• Reports say at least nine people are dead and 50 injured
• Lorry co-driver dead, another man arrested near the scene
• The tragedy has parallels with a terrorist attack in Nice in July, where a truck drove into a beach-front crowd
• The crash is being investigated as a terrorist attack
A truck has ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, killing nine people and injuring up to 50 others, police say.
German media, citing police at the scene, said first indications pointed to an attack on the market, situated at the foot of the ruined Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, which was kept as a bombed-out ruin after World War II.
The truck careered into the Berlin market at what would have been one of the most crowded times for the Christmas market, when adults and children would be gathering in the traditional cluster of wooden huts that sell food and Christmas goods.
"I heard a big noise and then I moved on the Christmas market and saw much chaos...many injured people," Jan Hollitzer, deputy editor in chief of Berliner Morgenpost, told CNN. "It was really traumatic."
Another reporter for the Berliner Morgenpost described it as a "gruesome scene".
Police cars and ambulances converged quickly on the scene as a huge security operation unfolded. The fate of the driver of the truck was not immediately clear, but Bild newspaper said he was on the run.
Emma Rushton, a tourist visiting Berlin, told CNN the truck seemed to be travelling at about 65km/h.
Asked how many were injured, she said that as she walked back to her hotel, she saw at at least 10.
Julian Reichelt, editor in chief of Bild Berlin, said that there was currently a massive security operation underway.
"The scene certainly looks like a reminder of what we have seen in Nice," Reichelt said.
Witness Emma Rushton tweeted: "People crushed. I am safe. I am safe," CNN reported.
The incident evoked memories of the Nice attack in July when Tunisian-born man drove a 19-tonne truck along the beach front, mowing down people who had gathered to watch the fireworks on Bastille Day, killing 86 people. The attack was claimed by Islamic State.
Police guard a Christmas market after a truck ran into the crowded market in Berlin. Photo / AP
For more on this story visit www.nzherald.co.nz.