The streets of Berlin were quiet just a few short hours after a truck barrelled through a Christmas market Monday evening, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more.
It’s not yet clear whether or not the deadly incident was an accident or targeted, but witnesses said everyone in the tightly-packed market was panicking during the crash.
Moments before, people were “hanging around, drinking hot wine… having a good time,” Berlin resident Anthony Tarik told Global News. “But later, of course, it was panic – people shouting. It was really quick.”
“It was so fast so I didn’t see anything. At the moment, I just heard an explosion – it wasn’t an explosion but it sounded like one,” Tarik, who also spoke to AM640 in Toronto, said. “I saw the people shouting, running. I saw that they didn’t have any space to get away.”
Tarik said the market was so busy, it was difficult to walk through, making it hard to escape the carnage.
“They had no chance to get cover, so the casualties were very high.”
Emma Rushton, a tourist visiting the market, told CNN she was around eight feet from the truck when it came barrelling through.
“There were people bleeding, there were people lying in the pavement,” she said.
“The store where we bought our mulled wine from was completely decimated.”
In the aftermath though, the streets were quiet and people were calm.
“The police were really quick there, the ambulance was really quick there, really well organized from the German security – quick under control, situation,” Tarik explained.
Thought he saw many people injured and bodies being put into cars, Tarik said people in the area were surprisingly calm.
Global BC cameraman Al Coen flew into Berlin on vacation with his family around the time the truck hit the market.
Coen heard a few police sirens on his way to the hotel but thought they were “regular, big city noises.”
He said he heard about the incident only after checking into his hotel Monday evening.
WATCH: Global News BC camera operator describes scene in Berlin after truck attack leaves 9 dead, dozens injured
“The woman at the front desk was telling us about how great the Christmas market by the Kaiser Whilhem Memorial (Church) is, we were planning on going there tomorrow,” he told Global News via Skype.
Though police said they aren’t concerned about another incident, they asked people to stay away from the scene and off the streets.
“So we’re staying in tight tonight… so except for police sirens, the streets are quiet,” Coen said.
Some witnesses said the attack looked deliberate but others don’t want to jump to conclusions. Police confirmed they have one person in custody, but they haven’t yet offered an explanation.
Rushton told CNN the truck showed no signs of slowing down as it barrelled through the market at around 40 miles per hour, or 65 kilometres per hour, she estimated.
“There’s a main road just off to the side but there was no way it could have just come off that as an accident,” she said. “It was through the middle of the market.”
“It’s always difficult to assume,” Tarik told Global News.
“It’s so quick what happened. Of course we might think it’s a terrorist attack… but at the moment, it’s too early to assume.”
WATCH: Police investigate truck that plowed into Christmas market killing 9