Hamburg Airport remains closed this morning as police are trying to negotiate with a father who rammed his car through a security gate and threw Molotov cocktails onto the runway, as held his four-year-old daughter hostage in his car.
The situation has been ongoing for more than 12 hours with German officials warning that the airport will remain closed for takeoffs and landing as negotiations with the 35-year-old continue.
Authorities believe the terrifying ordeal has been sparked over a ‘custody dispute’, with the desperate wife of the gunman reporting a possible child abduction, with the young girl said to be taken by force from her mother.
Last night, the armed man, reported by the German newspaper Bild to be a Turkish national, ploughed his Audi through an airport barrier at around 8pm local time (7pm GMT).
He fired a weapon twice and then threw two burning bottles out of the vehicle, police said. The driver then barricaded himself to the foot of a Turkish Airlines plane.
The airport was quickly shut down with passengers being evacuated from planes parked on the runway. Desperate police are continuing to negotiate with the man this morning.
Police psychologists are also at the airport trying to negotiate a solution with the driver.
Hamburg Airport management posted on X just after 8am this morning: ‘The situation at the airport remains unchanged, the police operation continues.
‘Flight operations will remain suspended until further notice. The police ask all passengers and those collecting them not to come to the airport. The access roads are largely blocked off.’
The city’s police force added: ‘Negotiations will continue. The operational situation continues.’
The force said reiterated that traffic measures around the huge airport remain in place and that entering the airport remains impossible.
Police spokeswoman Sandra Levgrun told the regional channel of public television NDR that it is believed a father and his child are in the car.
She called it a ‘very good sign’ that he had remained in contact with the authorities over a prolonged period of time.
The incident has caused major and ongoing disruption throughout one of Europe’s busiest airports.
On Saturday evening alone 17 flights scheduled to land in Hamburg were diverted. Another 286 flight are scheduled for today, carrying some 34,500 passengers.
Last night a large number of officers from state and federal police were on site and in the vicinity of the vehicle, federal police spokesman Thomas Gerbert told German news agency dpa.
Police said no one appeared to be injured, but the airport announced it was currently closed for takeoffs and landings.
Bild reported that the gunman drove in front of Terminal 1 in an Audi without a number plate.
The driver initially sped away but a few minutes later broke through a security barrier at the north gate and drove towards the planes.
He is said to have started fires in the airport area by throwing burning bottles out of the car which were described as ‘a kind of Molotov cocktails’ by police spokesman Mr Gerbert.
Footage shared on social media shows flames on the tarmac as fire crews rushed to the scene.
Special forces, fire crews and officers all descended on the scene as a major police operation remaining underway this morning.
Police said that all terminals were evacuated – as was an aircraft which the armed man parked next to.
The passenger plane was full but its understood everyone has been evacuated and a collection point was set up at the nearby Radisson Blue hotel opposite the airport.
Police also said that a psychologist was talking with the man and that there was no indication other people could be harmed since all passengers had evacuated the airport.