Saturday, July 13

Hamburg Airport Closed as Driver on Tarmac Remains in Standoff With Police

Flights in and out of the Hamburg Airport in Germany were canceled after the authorities responded Saturday night to an armed man who drove his vehicle onto the tarmac and parked near a plane.

The man fired at least one shot into the air, Sandra Levgrün, a spokeswoman for the Hamburg Police Department, said in an interview posted on social media. She said that no injuries had been reported.

A few hours into the standoff, a police spokesman, Thilo Marxsen, said officers on the ground were seeking a Turkish translator to communicate with the man. The police had earlier said he was accompanied by a child passenger and that they believed the situation concerned a “custody dispute.”

Two small fires were observed on the tarmac early on, though the authorities were still trying to determine if they were set by the man. The police said he had driven through a gate to get to the tarmac, but declined to say whether he had driven past any security guards.

Passengers aboard the plane near the vehicle and other planes were evacuated and taken to a nearby hotel, the police said.

Video posted on social media showed heavily armed officers escorting a group of passengers across the tarmac to a bus.

The woman who posted the video, Alina Tuider, 32, said her flight home to Vienna was preparing for takeoff just after 8 p.m. when the plane came to a halt.

“We saw armed police running across the field next to our plane,” Ms. Tuider said in a phone interview, adding that her flight had by then been grounded for about an hour. “So we knew there was something going on.”

At one point, she thought she heard a gunshot before later learning about the armed driver from the news on her phone.

Around midnight local time, police evacuated her plane and she was later taken to a hotel.

A spokeswoman for the airport, Katja Bromm, said in an email that the police responded to the airport at 8:24 p.m. local time, prompting it to halt takeoffs and landings.

Twenty-seven flights were then canceled, she added, affecting roughly 3,200 passengers.

Just before 6 a.m. local time, the police said in an update that the airport remained closed as the standoff dragged on into its tenth hour.

Airport officials said morning flights had been canceled.