Wednesday 23 August 2017

Airport evacuated in spray scare

Evacuees who were uninjured had to wait outside in freezing temperatures. Photo: Axel Heimken/dpa via AP
Evacuees who were uninjured had to wait outside in freezing temperatures. Photo: Axel Heimken/dpa via AP

Sandra Bernhardt

Dozens of people needed treatment after a hazardous material believed to be pepper spray was spread through the air conditioning system at a German airport yesterday.

Hundreds of other passengers had to be evacuated and more than a dozen flights were cancelled at Hamburg Airport.

An airport spokesman said police and firefighters had concluded from their initial investigation the substance was probably pepper spray.

Authorities are working to determine how it got into the airport's air conditioning.

"I want to explicitly deny that this was a terrorist attack," said Hamburg fire department spokesman Torsten Wessely.

The 68 injured people - passengers and staff members - complained about breathing problems, burning eyes and nausea.

All outgoing and inbound flights were halted for about an hour due to the evacuation and unknown health hazard. A total of 14 flights were cancelled and several planes were diverted. Air traffic delays continued throughout the afternoon after flights resumed at 1.45pm.

Evacuees who were uninjured had to wait outside in freezing temperatures.

Irish Independent

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