Hamburg Airport closed overnight and flights held due to hostage situation

Police believe the ongoing stand-off at Hamburg Airport is due to a custody dispute.

Hamburg Airport closed overnight and flights held due to hostage situation
HAMBURG, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 05: Passengers are evacuated from Hamburg Airport on November 5, 2023 in Hamburg, Germany. According to media reports, a man armed with a gun drove a car through a perimeter gate onto the tarmac, where he attempted to set several fires. He reportedly also has two children in the car with him and is now in a standoff with police. All flights from the airport have been cancelled and approaching flights diverted. (Photo by Gregor Fischer/Getty Images)
Passengers are still being evacuated from Hamburg Airport this morning (Picture: Gregor Fischer/Getty Images)

A major airport in Germany has been closed overnight due to a ‘hostage situation’ involving a man with a child.

Police believe the ongoing stand-off at Hamburg Airport, which began when a 35-year-old man rammed a security barrier with a four-year-old passenger, is due to a custody dispute.

The incident began at around 8pm on Saturday, when the man smashed his Audi through a security barrier at the north gate and parked under one of the planes.

The stand-off has now lasted for more than 12 hours, with no flights able to take off or land in that time.

A spokesperson for the airport said at least 27 flights and around 3,200 passengers had been affected.

Passengers have been urged not to travel to the airport.

Local police would not confirm earlier reporting that the man was armed, had fired twice into the air with a weapon, and had thrown burning bottles from his car, Sky News reports.

Footage from the airport showed emergency services tackling two small fires.

epa10958634 Special police arrives at the airport in Hamburg, Germany, 04 November 2023, after an armed man broke through security and entered the grounds of the airport. police assumes a 'static hostage situation', Hamburg police wrote on X, previously known as Twitter. The wife of the man contacted police earlier about a possible child abduction. EPA/Blaulicht-News.de
Special police arrives at the airport in Hamburg, Germany (Picture: EPA)
epa10958637 Firemen, rescue workers and police stand outside the airport in Hamburg, Germany, 04 November 2023, after an armed man broke through security and entered the grounds of the airport. police assumes a 'static hostage situation', Hamburg police wrote on X, previously known as Twitter. The wife of the man contacted police earlier about a possible child abduction. EPA/Blaulicht-News.de
Firemen, rescue workers and police stand outside the airport (Picture: EPA)
Police guard the scene of a security breach at the Hamburg Airport, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Hamburg, Germany. The airport was closed to passengers, and flights were canceled Saturday night after a vehicle broke through security and entered the premises, German news agency dpa reported. (Jonas Walzberg/dpa via AP)
Police guard the scene of a security breach at the Hamburg Airport (Picture: AP)

Hamburg police posted on X, formerly Twitter: ‘The car is still on the apron of Hamburg airport. We are currently assuming a custody dispute is the background to the operation.

‘Our negotiators are in contact with the person in the car.’

Federal police said the 35-year-old’s wife had previously called to warn of a possible child abduction before confirming a four-year-old child was also inside the vehicle.

They said officers are operating on the basis the man had taken the child from the mother possibly as part of a custody battle.

All passengers were evacuated from the airport and work is ongoing to safely remove travellers still on board aircraft on the tarmac.

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