Blackpool man tells of Berlin Christmas market terror

A Blackpool man has spoken of his horror after being caught up in the terror attack at a Berlin Christmas market.

Tuesday, 20th December 2016, 10:03 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:19 pm
The scene after a truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, as the truck was deliberately crashed in a suspected terrorist attack, police said. (Pic: Claire Hayhurst/PA Wire)

Dave Richmond was at the crowded market, taking place outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church yesterday evening, when a large truck carrying steel girders ploughed into shoppers.

At least 12 people have died and 48 have been injured, German police said.

Mr Richmond told the BBC: "We heard this loud bang and all the lights overhead were all moving around everywhere.

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"There was all this cracking sound that sounded like gun fire.

"Then all these people were running towards us and we just got caught up in it and we just started running with them.

"It was pandemonium."

Berlin Police said this morning the incident was intentional and a suspected act of terrorism.

"Our investigators are working on the assumption that the truck was intentionally driven into the crowd at the Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz," the force said.

"All police measures concerning the suspected terror attack at Breitscheidplatz are being taken with great speed and the necessary care."

Berlin Police spokesman Thomas Neundorf said a passenger in the lorry - who officials later confirmed was a Polish national - was among those killed.

The truck carried Polish number plates and investigators would work to determine whether it was stolen or driven legally, Mr Neundorf added.

The Polish owner of the truck, Ariel Zurawski, told TVN24 he feared the vehicle may have been hijacked and said 'they must have done something to my driver'.

Photographs from the scene showed the black lorry askew across a road, surrounded by debris from smashed Christmas market huts and stalls.

Broken remnants of a hut were lodged in the cab's shattered window alongside a Christmas tree, its lights dangling down in front of the lorry's grill.

A police cordon remained at the site this morning, though parts of the Christmas market had been re-opened.

Commuters walked quietly past the wooden stalls and Christmas trees in the market, many of which were still lit up with white lights. White screens were erected around a large part of the area where the articulated lorry came to a stop.

As emergency services prepared to remove the lorry, tributes began to appear nearby. People laid red candles and flowers, while others wept as they passed the scene.

A glass jar with a white candle inside had a note pinned to it, which read: "I am Berlin for more humanity and sympathy."

A 'suspicious person', thought to be the driver, was arrested near the scene last night and is now being questioned, authorities said.