A young boy and an adult man died in an accident while driving with a wheel loader in Toppenstedt, south of Hamburg. Ten other children between the ages of four and ten were injured early on Saturday evening, some of them seriously, as a fire department spokesman for the German Press Agency said. The adult victim is a 39-year-old man, the child killed was five years old, according to an emergency chaplain. According to the fire department, they were not related to each other.
Four of the injured children had to be flown to the hospital by helicopter. The police and fire brigade did not provide any information on the current state of health of the seriously injured.
The camp was privately organized by fathers as a shared activity with their children. A group was driven "for amusement" with the wheel loader over a dirt road, said the fire brigade spokesman. The later victims were in a mesh basket that was raised using the loading arm - and then, according to the police, probably because of a ruptured hydraulic hose, suddenly dropped from a height of about three meters. Some inmates were probably hit by the metal basket.
The police confiscated the wheel loader for investigation after the accident. The 44-year-old driver, also a participant in the camp, was taken to a police station. He is being investigated for involuntary manslaughter. In addition, it was "routinely" examined whether he had alcohol or drugs in his blood.
The mission was one of the most difficult ever for the rescue workers, said the emergency chaplain. When children are harmed, this is always very emotionally stressful for the emergency services - many of them are also parents themselves. "It consumes a lot what you experience," said the pastor. A total of around 80 firefighters, 60 rescue workers and 30 police officers were on duty until late at night.
It was initially unclear how many participants were in the camp. Toppenstedt has a good 2000 inhabitants and is around 35 kilometers south of Hamburg.