Shocking suspected poisoning causes university students to turn blue on campus

Several students and staff watched as their arms and legs went blue following a suspected mass poisoning at a university in Germany on Monday.

They fell ill after consuming food and drink from the kitchens of Darmstadt Technical University, near Frankfurt, and police now suspect it to be an attempted poisoning.

A 30-year-old student was in a life-threatening condition but was stabilised by doctors at a hospital in Darmstadt. Six others were also treated at the hospital.

Police suspect that free water and milk bottles from three separate university kitchens were contaminated over the weekend, and an anonymous investigator has told German newspaper Bild that they have ruled out the poison being left by accident.

State prosecutors in Darmstadt said: ""Investigations are running at high speed and police are doing everything to identify the culprit."

A special homicide squad of 40 detectives called Licht ("Light") was set up on Tuesday to investigate the incident.

Their investigation is already making swift progress. On Tuesday Robert Hartmann, a senior public prosecutor, announced that: "A substance has been identified that can be harmful to one's health, and even deadly."

He has also said that: "We can't rule out that we are dealing with an attempted murder here."

Although the poisonous substance cannot be named until after the culprit is found, police have revealed that it is easily identifiable due to its "pungent smell".

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They said that there was "no acute danger" as of Tuesday, but students and staff were urged to only eat and drink what they had "carried themselves or stored under supervision". They also advised anyone who feels ill on the campus to seek medical attention immediately.

Tanja Brühl, the university's president, said: "We are shocked by the apparent crime that has been committed at our university."

"I wish the affected all the best, a quick recovery and can assure them my full support," said Hesse state's science minister Angela Dorn-Rancke, "together with the university and investigators, we now need to clarify the situation as quickly as possible."

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