Seven people at the Technical University of Darmstadt fell seriously ill after ingesting poisoned food. Investigators believe they are dealing with an attempted murder at the campus.

The inquiry into what had happened at the elite German engineering school was taken over by public prosecutors on Tuesday, a day after the potentially criminal incident happened at the Lichtwiese campus in the eastern part of the city of Darmstadt.

The situation was first announced by the university on Monday afternoon, when it warned people who recently consumed food or drinks at the campus to pay attention to their health. Anyone discovering bluish discoloration of hands or feet should immediately seek medical attention, TU Darmstadt said.

Several milk cartons and water containers at the campus appeared to have been laced with a toxic substance, a police investigation found later in the day. The Hessian State Police confirmed that the poison was likely what caused symptoms in the seven victims, but did not identify it publicly.

The contamination is believed to be result of foul play, prompting investigators to treat it as an attempted murder. A team of 40 officers has been assigned to the case, Chief Prosecutor Robert Hartmann told reporters. The officers are narrowing down the suspect list by establishing who between Friday and Monday had access to the L201 building, where the poisoned items were discovered.

The victims of the poisoning were not immediately identified, but their lives were fortunately said to no longer be in danger as of Tuesday. Manfred Efinger, the TU Darmstadt chancellor, said six of them required treatment at hospital, with two transported to Frankfurt due to more serious injuries they suffered from. One person had a particularly bad reaction to the toxin, but doctors saved his life, and his condition has improved significantly, the university official said.

The search at the campus continued overnight and on Tuesday, but no further signs of the poison were found. No suspects in the case have been identified yet.

TU President Tanja Brühl expressed shock that the university building became a crime scene.

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