Hamburg airport briefly shut after corrosive discharge

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 February, 2017, 9:09pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 February, 2017, 11:11pm

German authorities on Sunday briefly closed the airport in the northern city of Hamburg after a discharge of a corrosive substance caused eye irritation and breathing difficulties among 68 people in a security check area, a police spokeswoman said.

Firefighters and ambulances were rushed to the scene after the incident, which occurred in an area where passenger luggage is scanned by security staff.

Authorities ruled out an act of terrorism, national news agency DPA reported.

Sixty-eight people were examined by paramedics and nine of them were taken to hospital.

Firefighters are trying to determine the source of the discharge and the nature of the corrosive substance.

Lightly dressed passengers were rushed outside the terminal but were allowed back in shortly after, the police spokeswoman said.

Maik Lewerenz of the federal police office at the airport said “a bad smell has spread in the security area, where passengers and their carry-on luggage are checked.

“A number of people complained about eye and respiratory irritation,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the airport said flights had resumed as of 1.45pm (1245 GMT).

According to live flight tracking website flightradar24.com some flights were diverted to other airports after the incident.

Hamburg airport is Germany’s fifth largest, with just over one million passengers a month.