Hamburg Airport hostage drama ends as armed man detained, child freed

Police believe that a custody dispute may be the reason for the violent intrusion

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An armed man who police say took his daughter hostage at Hamburg airport was arrested Sunday after a standoff of more than 17 hours - DPAPic
An armed man who police say took his daughter hostage at Hamburg airport was arrested Sunday after a standoff of more than 17 hours - DPAPic

HAMBURG — An 18-hour hostage drama at Hamburg Airport has ended after an armed man was detained and the 4-year-old held in his car was freed, the police said on Sunday afternoon.

The 35-year-old got out of his car and was arrested by emergency services officials, Hamburg police announced on X. His daughter appeared unharmed.

The northern German airport shut down on Saturday night after the man crashed a car into an airport gate and fired two shots into the air, according to the German news agency dpa.

Police believe that a custody dispute may be the reason for the violent intrusion. Police reported he was holding his 4-year-old daughter hostage in the car after a custody battle with her mother. The girl’s mother had previously reported the child’s abduction to authorities.

Earlier in the day, media reported that Hamburg’s international airport was closed to all arriving and departing flights after a gunman rammed the security barrier and drove onto the airport ramp, firing two shots in the air.

Custody battle

According to the information available so far, the child that the man had with him had been staying with the mother on Saturday. Police say they believe that the father “took the child away” from the mother, possibly forcibly, before driving to Hamburg and onto the airport tarmac, a police spokeswoman said on Saturday evening when asked about the incident.

A psychologist spent hours negotiating with the man, according to police. The mother also arrived at the airport and received psychological support, dpa reported.

No threat existed to other passengers after the airport was evacuated and all flights were canceled, according to officials. About 126 flights were canceled and five planes were rerouted because of the incident. — Malaysiaxpress

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