The man, aged 35, kept the 4-year-old daughter in his car which he parked next to a Turkish Airlines plane
The German police ended the hostage incident today with a father who kept his 4-year-old daughter in a car on the tarmac at Hamburg Airport for about 18 hours and blocked all traffic, raising questions about airport security.
“The hostage situation ended, the man left the car with his daughter and was arrested without resistance by the police,” local police reported on X (formerly Twitter), clarifying that the child “appears to be in good health.”
The incident is linked to a child custody dispute that the man had with the girl’s mother and started on Saturday night around 20:00 local time.
The 35-year-old man kept his 4-year-old daughter in his car, which he parked next to a Turkish Airlines plane, after breaking into the airport by smashing through the bar at the airport gate and onto the runway.
He fired two shots into the air and threw two flaming bottles, which looked like Molotov cocktails, according to a police spokesman.
The 35-year-old wanted to be allowed to fly to Turkey with his daughter, whom he had previously abducted from his wife’s home in Stande, about 30 kilometers from Hamburg.
— Negotiations —
German police conducted hours-long negotiations through the night and several hours today to convince the father, who was armed and suspected of possessing explosives, to surrender.
Air traffic at Hamburg Airport was disrupted on Saturday afternoon and for several hours today, affecting dozens of flights and thousands of passengers.
Airport management announced, after the hostage situation ended, that “preparations” were underway to restore traffic.
The police mobilized intervention units, in addition to teams of negotiators, who spoke in Turkish, as well as psychologists.
— Security Questions —
The man had stopped his car next to a Turkish Airlines plane that was about to depart on Saturday night. All passengers on the plane were evacuated.
This hostage situation has sparked controversy over security conditions around Hamburg Airport with many questioning how a man made it so easily onto the airport’s runway by car.
In July, environmental activists blocked traffic at the same airport for several hours, storming in on bicycles in a protest against aircraft pollution.
“How is it possible that a father in his Audi can just drive through a barrier and then gain access to a high security zone? How is it possible for climate activists to cut down the fences surrounding the airports of Hamburg, Berlin or Dusseldorf in these last months?” asked a prominent German air traffic expert, Heinrich Grosbongaard, speaking to Der Spiegel magazine. One of the leaders of the German police union, Heiko Tegatz, commented for his part that “it is difficult to understand how outdoor Christmas markets are protected by concrete blocks but airports, even though they are high security risk areas, are protected in an amateurish way».
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