A hostage situation occurred at Hamburg Airport Saturday and Sunday November 4 and 5 and lasted almost 18 hours. The tense situation began when a man drove his vehicle through the gates of the airport according to airport authorities. The man had his 4-year-old daughter with him in the car.
The airport was closed and flights were cancelled on Saturday night when the armed man, drove through the airport gate with his vehicle and shot a firearm into the air, the German news agency dpa said in a report. The man then continued on with the vehicle until he was just outside a terminal building and parked the car under a plane.
The German police said the 35-year-old Turkish citizen had his daughter with him in the car and had reportedly taken her by force from the mother in a custody battle. Authorities said the man’s ex-wife had contacted them earlier about a child abduction.
Local media reported that the man, who parked his car next to a Turkish Airlines plane during the standoff, had demanded that he and his daughter leave Germany and fly to Turkey.
More than 100 flights were cancelled, planes were diverted from Hamburg and thousands of travelers were impacted by the situation. Reports say hundreds were put up at nearby hotels while the event took place.
A psychologist negotiated with the man for hours. Nobody was injured during the standoff and all passengers had been evacuated from the airport, police said. Flight operations at the airport resumed on Sunday night.
In a news statement, Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher expressed relief that no one was hurt. “The hostage-taking at Hamburg Airport is over after long, dramatic hours,” Tschentscher said. “I wish the mother, the child and her family a lot of strength to cope with these terrible experiences,” he added.