CANBERRA – Australians in Berlin are being advised to avoid the area of a deadly truck crash in a Christmas market in the German capital while Australian officials make "urgent inquiries" to see if any Australians have been affected.
At least nine people have been killed and scores injured when a truck was driven through a crowded evening market.
#Berlin if you are concerned for welfare of Australians call Aus Embassy in Berlin 0308800880 or in Australia 1300555135— Lynette Wood (@AusAmb_DE) December 19, 2016
An Australian woman, Trisha O'Neill, was sitting metres from the scene and described "blood and bodies everywhere".
"I just saw this huge black truck speeding through the markets crushing so many people and then all the lights went out and everything was destroyed," she told the ABC.
"People, including children and older people, weren't moving -- people were crying and I just burst into tears."
— ABC News (@abcnews) December 19, 2016
While investigations into the incident are underway, the Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has described it as an "absolutely terrible" event and a "reminder of the evil that's out there in this world."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those families, and hopefully no Australians affected, but perhaps family members are," he told reporters in Canberra.
DFAT saying Aussies should exercise normal safety precautions in Germany pic.twitter.com/if5AqLzdrq— Alice Workman (@workmanalice) December 19, 2016
The Department of Foreign Affairs has released a statement.
"The Australian Embassy in Berlin is making urgent enquiries to determine whether any Australians have been affected by the incident at the Berlin Christmas markets," a spokesman said.
It is advising Australians to avoid the affected area, remain vigilant in public places and follow the advice of local authorities.
Morrison notes it is a "sensitive time of year".
"It is a horrible reminder that even at times like this, which is supposed to be full of joy and family and faith and all of these sorts of things, that it is a terrible reminder of the evil that's out there in this world," he said.
"And I think it is an important thing to do as we go into this Christmas break to count our blessings. This is a wonderful country and we thank God for it."