Hostage situation shuts down major airport in Germany for 18 hours


(HAMBURG) — One of Germany’s largest airports was shut down for more than 18 hours after a man believed to be armed and holding his 4-year-old child hostage drove a vehicle through a security barrier and parked under a Turkish Airlines jet, authorities said.

The incident — described by police as “tense” — began Saturday night at the Hamburg Airport, and hostage negotiators worked for hours to get the suspect to release the child and surrender, officials said.

The incident was resolved peacefully around 2:30 p.m. local time when the suspect got out of his vehicle with his daughter and surrendered, the Hamburg police department said in an online statement.

“The hostage situation is over. The suspect has left the car with his daughter. The child appears to be unharmed,” according to the police statement.

The suspect, whose name was not immediately released, was taken into custody without incident, police said.

The incident unfolded around 8 p.m. local time Saturday when a vehicle crashed through a security barrier surrounding the airport, according to police. The suspect allegedly fired a gun twice in the air as he drove onto the airport’s tarmac and apparently hurled a burning bottle from the vehicle, police said.

The suspect drove to an area where airplanes usually park and stopped underneath a Turkish Airlines plane, according to local media reports.

All flights in and out of Hamburg Airport were suspended as police hostage negotiators and psychologists communicated with the suspect, according to Sandra Levgruen, a spokesperson for the Hamburg Police.

Levgruen said authorities suspect the incident stemmed from a child custody dispute. Levgruen said the child’s mother contacted police and reported that her daughter was taken.

Levgruen said that during the hourslong standoff, the suspect told negotiators that his life was a “heap of shards.”

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