SIX people have been killed and 11 injured after a car ploughed into a group of young German tourists in northern Italy.

The crash occurred in a village near Valle Aurina, near Bolzano in the Alto Adige region around 1am yesterday as the tourists were gathering to board their bus.

The regional president of Alto Adige, Arno Kompatscher, said: “The new year begins with a terrible tragedy. We are left stunned.”

The driver of the car had a high blood alcohol content and was driving particularly fast, a carabineri police official in Brunico said, adding that police had concluded the car crash was not an act of terrorism.

The Lutago volunteer fire service said on Facebook that the six dead were killed at the scene. The injured, four of whom were in critical condition, were taken to several regional hospitals, including two who were airlifted to a hospital in Innsbruck, Austria.

Bolzano carabinieri commander Alessandro Coassin said the driver, identified by Italian media as a 28-year-old man from the nearby town of Chienes, was arrested on suspicion of highway manslaughter and injury and was being treated at the hospital in Brunico.

Helmut Abfalterer of the Lutago volunteer fire service said the aftermath of the crash “looked like a battlefield”.

Most of the victims hailed from western Germany, though two of the injured were Italian, officials said. “We are currently working on the assumption that most of the deceased come from North Rhine-Westphalia,” the state’s governor, Armin Laschet, said on Twitter.

“These young people wanted to spend a good time together and were torn out of their lives or seriously injured from one second to the next.”