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Hamburg Airport Closed After Armed Hostage Situation

Update: Flight operations have started after about 18 hours of standstill due to hostage drama. However, there are still significant cancellations and delays. Passenger are advised to keep an eye on their flight status and contact the airline if necessary.

Hamburg Airport has been closed since last night due to an armed hostage situation affecting thousands of passengers. An armed man drove his car through the airport gate with a child and fired twice into the air with a weapon forcing the closure of the airport at 8 PM on Saturday.

The police arrived in large numbers on the scene to deal with the man. According to police reports, the car with the 35-year-old man and 4-year-old child has been parked under a Turkish Airlines Boeing 737.

“We are on-site with a large contingent of emergency services. We are currently assuming a static hostage situation.”

Hamburg Police
a group of cars on a road
Police vehicles and ambulances arriving at Hamburg Airport. Image: Jonas Walzberg

The man fired two shots from his gun in the air and threw two Molotov cocktails out of the car. According to preliminary information, the reason behind the actions of the man, who is of Turkish origin was a disagreement regarding the custody of a four-year-old child.

It is assumed that the man stole the child from his mother. The child’s mother had reportedly informed the police while the man was on the way to the airport with the child.

Special forces, negotiators, and psychologists have been in contact with the man and communicating through a translator in Turkish for over 15 hours. He has been insisting on granting permission to travel to Turkey with the child.

“Our negotiating group remains in contact with the suspect. We currently have to assume that he is in possession of a live firearm and possibly also explosive devices of an unknown type. Our top priority is protecting the child. According to our current findings, the child is doing well physically. Negotiations will continue.”

Hamburg Police

Flight Disruptions

According to reports, 286 flights with around 35,000 passengers were scheduled for Sunday at Hamburg airport. The majority of those flights have already been canceled and the airport authorities are advising passengers not to show up at the airport for the time being. 

Passengers who were on the tarmac were rescued only after Special Forces arrived and gave cover through their vehicles.

Even after 15 hours, the hostage crisis at Hamburg Airport continues. Over 40,000 passengers have been impacted due to the crisis since Saturday night as traffic has been closed around the airport.

According to the airport, the roads accessing the airport are also cordoned off and trains will not stop at the airport until further notice.

Feature Image via FL360aero