With Mystery Toxin in Air, German Airport Evacuates

50 report respiratory problems, authorities suspect hazard spread through air ducts
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 12, 2017 8:41 AM CST
Travelers wait outside the Hamburg, northern Germany, airport Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017 after several people were injured by an unknown toxic that likely spread through the airports’ air conditioning system.   (Axel Heimken)
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(Newser) – German firefighters on Sunday evacuated hundreds of passengers at Hamburg Airport after about 50 people were injured by an unknown hazardous material that likely spread through the airport's air conditioning system, reports the AP. All flights were halted for several hours due to the evacuation, but air traffic started running again around 2pm, airport spokeswoman Karen Stein said. More than 50 people—both passengers and staff—had complained about breathing problems, burning eyes, and nausea. Firefighters were examining them to find out whether they had to be taken to the hospital, the German news agency dpa reported.

Those who were evacuated from the airport but not injured had to wait outside the terminals in freezing temperatures. Firefighters designated special areas outside the airport building where physicians were examining those injured by the unknown substance. The cause for the incident was not known, Stein said, "but we're working closely together with the authorities to find out more." (Read more Hamburg stories.)

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