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Australian man gutted after Berlin attack

AAP logoAAP 20/12/2016 Sarah McPhee

An Australian man holidaying in Berlin says he is profoundly sad and fearful after a deadly truck crash at the Christmas market he had been wandering through just hours earlier.

Brisbane man Bo Nicholson, 28, told AAP he and his partner had been exploring the Breitscheidplatz markets in the city's west on Monday at 7pm, local time, when they decided to head back to their nearby hotel.

"Not long afterwards we heard many sirens, which continued for a few hours; a constant reminder of the atrocities that had occurred," Mr Nicholson said.

At about 8:35pm, the first reports emerged of a truck ramming into the festive crowd.

Local police have confirmed at least 12 people were killed and 48 others injured.

"I'm tremendously sad, and I didn't even know any of them," Mr Nicholson said.

"I may have purchased a crepe from them, or smiled at them while they interacted with their kid.

"Everyone there was sharing an experience, sharing the festive spirit with beautiful lights in a magnificent city."

The market is a popular tourist spot featuring a real Christmas tree with 8000 baubles, hundreds of thousands of fairy lights and stalls selling bratwurst, German mulled wine - or gluhwein - and crepes.

"We had no actual sightings of the truck or of the event but I cried from a mixture of fear and profound sadness," Mr Nicholson said.

He said despite being in Berlin for a holiday, sightseeing is "a secondary priority now".

"I didn't sleep well. I can't call it 'survivor's guilt' but there is a similar sadness and confusion that comes with being so close to this," he said.

"If it was terrorism, my fear is exactly the response they want, so I'm battling that emotion."

Mr Nicholson said it was difficult to believe the truck had accidentally entered the market given its position and the lack of sharp corners on nearby roads.

The market, open every night since late November near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, has been running for 33 years.

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