A hostage situation at Hamburg Airport was resolved by police and special forces nearly 18 hours after the suspect drove through security gates and onto the airfield with his 4-year-old child in the vehicle with him.
The suspect, a Turkish citizen, fired twice into the air with a weapon before parking his car underneath a Turkish Airlines plane that was awaiting takeoff. The suspect then ignited two incendiary devices next to his car, which were quickly extinguished by airport firefighters.
Emergency services successfully evacuated the passengers of the aircraft, taking them to a neighboring terminal with no incidents.
Local media reported the suspect demanded to leave Germany and return to Turkey alongside his daughter, who was reported abducted to German police by her mother, the suspect’s ex-wife, who resides in Stade, a city 21 miles (35 km) west of Hamburg.
Police Respond to the Situation:
“At around 10 p.m., officers managed to make contact with the 35-year-old and enter into negotiations with him. Despite this, he was initially unwilling to give up his plan, so the static situation continued for hours. There was almost constant contact with the father throughout the entire phase,” police said in a statement. “Ultimately, the suspect left his Audi early on Sunday afternoon with his daughter in his arms, handed the girl over to the special forces on hand, and was then temporarily arrested at 2:25 p.m. without resistance.”
A psychologist assisted police with negotiations, working alongside police for several hours. No one was injured during the standoff, and the mother of the child took custody of her child following the situation’s end.
Police reported the suspect abducted his daughter due to an ongoing custody battle between the ex-spouses, with the suspect most likely seeking to flee to Turkey in order to escape any punishment and gain sole custody of his child.
The Situation Resolved:
Hamburg police posted an update on the situation to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, stating that “the hostage situation is over. The suspect has left the car with his daughter. The man was arrested by the emergency services without resistance. The child appears to be unharmed.”
Over 100 flights were canceled, and several planes were rerouted while the airport initiated an emergency shutdown amid the hostage situation. Thousands of travelers were forced to cancel their plans, while those without accommodations were put up in hotels nearby. The airport remained closed until Sunday night, after nearly 24 hours had passed since the hostage situation.
The suspect was previously investigated for kidnapping minors in March 2022, following the suspect taking his daughter to Turkey unauthorized. However, the child was returned to Germany by the mother.
“The hostage-taking at Hamburg Airport is over after long, dramatic hours,” Hamburg’s Mayor, Peter Tschentscher, posted on X. “I wish the mother, the child, and her family a lot of strength to cope with these terrible experiences.”