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30 injured as car driven into crowd at German carnival

Children were among the victims in the town of Volkmarsen.

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The driver had been arrested by police (Uwe Zucchi/dpa via AP)

The driver had been arrested by police (Uwe Zucchi/dpa via AP)

The driver had been arrested by police (Uwe Zucchi/dpa via AP)

A man has intentionally driven a car into a crowd at a carnival parade in a small town in central Germany, injuring around 30 people including children, officials said.

The driver, a 29-year-old German citizen who lived locally, was arrested at the scene in Volkmarsen, near Kassel, prosecutors said. He is being investigated on suspicion of attempted homicide.

A spokesman for Frankfurt prosecutors, Alexander Badle, said in a statement that “about 30 people” were injured, including children. They were taken to surrounding hospitals, some with life-threatening injuries.

The suspect was also injured, said Mr Badle.

“The investigation, especially into the circumstances of the crime, continues,” he said. “In particular, no information can yet be provided about a motive. The investigation is exploring all avenues.”

“This is a terrible act committed against people who simply wanted to celebrate Carnival,” said Peter Beuth, the interior minister for the state of Hesse. He declined to comment on reports that a second person had been detained.

He said about a third of the injured were children who had come to watch the parade and collect sweets that are traditionally thrown into the crowds at the celebrations.

Chancellor Angela Merkel sent her condolences to those injured in the crash, wishing them a speedy and full recovery. She also thanked police and medical personnel involved.

Emergency responders set up a makeshift clinic in a town pharmacy to treat casualties with minor injuries, the regional Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported.

Witnesses said the car drove around a barrier blocking off traffic from the parade, according to the paper.

Germany Carnival Crash
Police and rescue workers at the scene (Uwe Zucchi/dpa/AP)

Video from the scene showed a silver Mercedes with local licence plates on a pavement, its front windscreen badly smashed and bonnet dented, and its hazard lights blinking, while emergency crews walked by.

Forensic experts could be seen taking photos and measurements around the car, walking around fragments of carnival costumes that littered the ground.

The crash came during the height of nationwide celebrations, with the biggest parades in Cologne, Dusseldorf and Mainz.

All other carnival parades in the central state of Hesse were ended on Monday as a precaution.

Hesse state is still reeling from a racist shooting last week in the Frankfurt suburb of Hanau. A 43-year-old man killed nine people with immigrant backgrounds late on Wednesday before killing his mother and then himself.

PA Media