Strange smell temporarily shuts Hamburg airport

Unknown substance was thought to have entered the hall though air conditioning system, say reports


Afp February 12, 2017
Firefighters with multiple vehicles stand in front of Hamburg airport as passengers leave the terminal on February 12, 2017 in Hamburg, northern Germany, as German emergency services evacuated the airport after people reported an unusual smell as well as respiratory ailments and watering eyes. PHOTO: AFP

HAMBURG: German emergency services temporarily evacuated the airport in the northern city of Hamburg on Sunday after people reported an unusual smell, respiratory ailments and watering eyes.

Firefighters rushed to the airport with multiple vehicles while incoming flights were diverted and hundreds of passengers had to wait outside the terminals in freezing temperatures.

"The airport was completely closed" at around 1130 GMT, said Maik Lewerenz of the federal police office at the airport, before it was reopened at 1245 GMT.

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"There was an odour problem in the central air traffic control area, where passengers and hand luggage are checked. Some people complained of stinging eyes and coughing," he said, adding that "the cause is unknown so far".

The Bild newspaper reported that an unknown substance was thought to have entered the hall though the air conditioning system, and that fire brigade experts were seeking to identify the substance.

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