30 injured as car driven into crowd at German carnival

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.

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Car driven into carnival crowd in Germany
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Car driven into carnival crowd in Germany
Police and rescue workers stand next to the scene of the accident with a car that is said to have crashed into a carnival parade in Volkmarsen, central Germany, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. Several people have been injured, according to the police. The driver had been arrested by the police. (Uwe Zucchi/dpa via AP)
Armed police are seen at the site of a car crash during a carnival procession in Volkmarsen, Germany, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. A man intentionally drove a car into a crowd of people at a Carnival parade in a small town in central Germany, injuring dozens of people including children, officials said Monday. Prosecutors said the driver, a 29-year-old local man, was arrested at the scene of the incident in Volkmarsen, about 280 kilometers (175 miles) southwest of Berlin. (Swen Pfortner/dpa via AP)
Police stand next to the scene of the accident with the car that is said to have crashed into a carnival parade in Volkmarsen, central Germany, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. Several people have been injured, according to the police. The driver had been arrested by the police. (Uwe Zucchi/dpa via AP)
Police and rescue workers stand next to the scene of the accident with a car that is said to have crashed into a carnival parade in Volkmarsen, central Germany, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. Several people have been injured, according to the police. The driver had been arrested by the police. (Uwe Zucchi/dpa via AP)
Emergency cars stand next to the scene of the accident with a car that is said to have crashed into a carnival parade in Volkmarsen, central Germany, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. Several people have been injured, according to the police. The driver had been arrested by the police. (Uwe Zucchi/dpa via AP)
24 February 2020, Hessen, Volkmarsen: Investigating officers are standing by a car that had driven into a crowd of people during a Rose Monday procession. According to Frankfurt police chief Bereswill, 30 people were injured. Seven of them were seriously injured. Photo: Swen Pförtner/dpa (Photo by Swen Pförtner/picture alliance via Getty Images)
24 February 2020, Hessen, Volkmarsen: A SEK official raises his hand in the street in front of a house that was searched by a SEK unit. A car had previously crashed into a carnival parade. According to Frankfurt police chief Bereswill, 30 people were injured. Seven of them were seriously injured. Photo: Uwe Zucchi/dpa (Photo by Uwe Zucchi/picture alliance via Getty Images)
24 February 2020, Hessen, Volkmarsen: Hessian Interior Minister Peter Beuth (CDU) makes a statement at the point where a car drove into a Rose Monday procession. According to Frankfurt police chief Bereswill, 30 people were injured. Seven of them were seriously injured. Photo: Uwe Zucchi/dpa (Photo by Uwe Zucchi/picture alliance via Getty Images)
24 February 2020, Hessen, Volkmarsen: View of the car (M) that went into a Rose Monday procession. Dozens of people were injured. The police assume that the driver deliberately steered his car into the crowd. Photo: Uwe Zucchi/dpa - ATTENTION: License plate of the car was pixelated (Photo by Uwe Zucchi/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Fire brigades work close to the site where a car drove into a carnival procession in Volkmarsen near Kassel, central Germany, on Rose Monday, February 24, 2020. - Several people were injured when a car drove into a carnival procession in Volksmarsen, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by Elmar SCHULTEN / AFP) / XGTY - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS (Photo by ELMAR SCHULTEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Carnival revellers stand at the site where a car drove into a carnival procession in Volkmarsen near Kassel, central Germany, on Rose Monday, February 24, 2020. - Several people were injured when a car drove into a carnival procession in Volksmarsen, police said, adding that the driver had been arrested. (Photo by Elmar SCHULTEN / AFP) / XGTY - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS (Photo by ELMAR SCHULTEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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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."

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.

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.

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