Nine dead as truck ploughs into Berlin Christmas market

The scene of the tragedy in Berlin.
The scene of the tragedy in Berlin.

Several people have been injured and nine have been left dead after a lorry crashed into a crowded festive market in Berlin.

Police confirmed the deaths and said "many" officers were at the scene to establish what happened.

It is understood the incident took place at a market outside the landmark Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, with images on social media showing the damaged truck and debris.

Briton Emma Rushton, who was in the market, saw the lorry rush past her at speed and said it could not have been an accident.

She told Sky News she only missed being caught in the chaos because she had climbed up some steps to take a seat.

Ms Rushton said: "The stall that we bought our mulled wine from was completely crushed. People were tearing off wooden panels to get out."

She added: "It was not an accident. It was going 40mph, it was in the middle of the market.

"There was no way that it could have come off the road and it showed no signs of slowing down."

Police later tweeted to urge people to stay at home and refrain from spreading rumours, adding that officers were working at full speed.

Julian King, European commissioner for the security union, tweeted: "My thoughts are with all those affected and their families in #Berlin tonight."

Police spokesman Winfried Wenzel told ZDF public television that a man believed to be the driver of the truck had been arrested near the scene.

No further details were immediately available.

Police asked civilians to stay away from the area and keep the streets clear for authorities.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are urgently investigating reports of an incident near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin and are in close contact with local authorities."

Berlin Police later tweeted: "A suspicious person was arrested near #Breitscheidplatz. Whether it is the driver of the truck, is currently under consideration.

"Currently, there are no indications of further dangerous situations in the city near #Breitscheidplatz."

It came after they revealed a passenger of the truck died "on the spot" and said the background of the incident remained unclear.

Earlier, a Berliner Morgenpost reporter described the scene shortly after the truck ran into the crowd as eerily silent and said some injured shoppers sat in front of stalls and held each other.