Lancaster County native left Christmas market just minutes before Berlin attack

BERLIN (WHTM) – A Lancaster County native was minutes away from being in the middle of Monday’s attack at a Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany.

Andrew Thomas, 26, lives in Germany. He was visiting friends in the city and they spent time walking around the market. They had just walked back through the market to get a train.

“The train ride was about 10 minutes, and in those 10 minutes the truck crashed into the Christmas Market,” Thomas said.

Thomas and his friends heard about the attack first from concerned friends and family in the United States.

“My phone was about to die and that was frustrating. I sent off a quick voice message to my parents letting them know I was OK,” he said.

Thomas talked about what it’s like to know he and his friends were so close to disaster.

“When we first arrived at the one that was attacked, my friends took pictures on Snapchat. My friend bought an ornament from a stand right where the truck crashed. It was sort of surreal to go back and look at those pictures and think, wow, that stand might not be there. It might be where people were hit by the truck. It’s a very uneasy feeling,” he said.

Thomas was close to terror attacks this summer, too.

“I live in Bavaria and we had three attacks over the summer in a month. That was also a scary time,” he said.

None of this is enough to make him want to leave a country he loves.

“I love everything. I love the culture, I love the language, I love the people,” he said.

He plans to find a job in Germany after he wraps up his master’s degree.

“Berlin is the most resilient city in the world,” he said. “They’ll recover. I have no doubt that they’ll find the person who did this. Berliners are tough and I think they’re going to do a good job of recovering from this.”

Check back later for more from Thomas and to hear about it in his own words via a Skype interview.

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