Authorities in Berlin have confirmed that at least nine people have been killed after a truck ran into a Christmas market Monday evening, leaving at least 50 others injured, according to police and news reports.
The incident took place in Breitscheidplatz, a public square in western Berlin.
German police said a suspect believed to be the driver of the truck has been arrested near the scene, according to Reuters, while another individual in the vehicle died during the crash. Nothing is known about the identity of either suspect.
A spokesperson told the news agency said German Chancellor Angela Merkel was briefed by the nation’s interior minister and Berlin’s mayor. “We mourn the dead and hope that the many injured can be helped,” Steffen Seibert, a spokesperson for Merkel, said on Twitter.
Emilie Engbirk, a Berlin resident who was nearby at the time, said the street where the incident took place is one of the busiest in the city.
“Filled with shops and people,” Engbirk, 29, told Jalopnik. “A wealthy area.” A church in the vicinity was bombed during World War II, she said.
“It looks like something that was adapted by Nice,” Reichelt said, referring to the truck attack in Nice, France, in June that left more than 80 people dead.
Authorities also implored locals to avoid the area so emergency crews could respond.
A reporter for The Guardian said the truck had Polish license plates and belonged to a Polish delivery company, which said the vehicle left Poland this afternoon for Berlin.
“The company said the truck left Poland this afternoon heading to Berlin and that they lost touch with the driver at 4 p.m. local time,” reported The Guardian’s Kate Connolly. “It would appear that the lorry might have been hijacked.”
Update: Berlin police said a preliminary investigation has indicated the truck may have been stolen from a construction site in Poland. The White House, in a statement, said the crash “appears to have been a terrorist attack.”
The Guardian reported the truck was loaded with steel beams, and was “reportedly on its return journey to Poland from Italy.” The owner of the truck told the British newspaper that the driver was his cousin and was slated to stop in Berlin for a break.