<!--[if IE]><![endif]-->
Europe
Europe

Volkmarsen attack: Almost 60 hurt after car drives into carnival crowd

  • 25 February 2020
Forensics teams examine a car in the German town of Volkmarsen Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Police confirmed 52 people had been injured, among them 18 children

The number of people confirmed as injured after a car ploughed into a carnival crowd in western Germany has risen to almost 60, police say.

Eighteen of those hurt in Monday's incident are children. In total 35 people remain in hospital.

Frankfurt's general prosecutor's office announced that the victims were aged between two and 85 years old.

Twenty-nine year-old resident Maurice P was arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide in the town of Volkmarsen.

The motive of the attack was still unclear on Tuesday but police denied a report that the man was drunk.

What do we know about the suspect?

Maurice P was himself injured and police said they had yet to question him. They raided his home late on Monday and his landlord told local broadcaster Hessenschau that he was a "very calm, totally inconspicuous and always polite person".

The number of injured increased on Tuesday, after police urged people to come forward even if they had not sought medical treatment.

While some planned carnival events went ahead in the state of Hesse, where the attack happened, several others were cancelled.

A statement by Hesse police said there were no "concrete indications" the risk had increased at the events.

Police also arrested a second person for allegedly filming the incident, the statement said.

Authorities cautioned against sharing images of the incident after one picture circulated online claimed to show the driver being arrested, but in fact showed a different person. Officers branded the photo "fake news" in a Twitter post.

What happened in Volkmarsen?

The incident took place during celebrations for Rosenmontag, or Rose Monday - a carnival day celebrated in some parts of Germany, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland.

A silver Mercedes drove through plastic barricades set up for the parade and into a group of people at about 14:45 local time (13:45 GMT).

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionEmergency crews respond after a car drives into a crowd at a German carnival

Eyewitnesses told German media that driver had accelerated toward the crowd and appeared to target children.

Police said they believed it was an attack but that there was no indication of a political motive, according to Bild newspaper.

The Frankfurt prosecutor's office said the suspect was being treated for injuries sustained in the incident, but would later be brought before an investigating judge.

Although authorities rejected reports that the driver was drunk at the time, it was unclear whether he was under the influence of drugs.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The car reportedly drove through plastic barricades set up around the parade

Steffen Roettger said his two daughters were at the parade and called him after the incident happened. "My 10-year-old was pulled aside and only narrowly avoided being hit," he told broadcaster NTV.

He said his daughter was "in shock" after seeing people "lying around everywhere".

What has the reaction been?

Police have set up a portal for people to submit pictures or videos of the incident. They have also created an information centre for anyone affected at the town hall.

Hesse state leader Volker Bouffier said he was "shocked at the terrible act".

In a statement, he shared his condolences with the victims and their families, while urging people not to speculate about possible motives.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her thoughts were with those injured and their relatives.

Related Topics

Top Stories

Exercise out of the home could be banned - Hancock

The health secretary warns people must "follow the rules" on staying at home and social distancing.

5 April 2020
Coronavirus: Spain sees another fall in daily toll
5 April 2020
Police warning over medical chief's second home visit
5 April 2020

Features

Why the Queen's message will be about unity

In pictures: Sophie Raworth's deserted London

Obituary: The Marquess of Bath

How Hollywood films handle deadly viruses

Dealing with addiction while in lockdown

Coronavirus lockdown: How are our pets coping with us?

No, 5G does not spread coronavirus

Why Dutch lockdown may be a high-risk strategy

Video

‘I’m digging graves for people who are still living’

Elsewhere on the BBC