The international airport in Hamburg was closed and terminals 1 and 2 were evacuated after toxin was released through the airport’s air conditioning system.

Chaos at Hamburg airport
Chaos at Hamburg airport amid evacuation over "unknown toxin." Photo: AP/DPA

( — February 12, 2017) — Hamburg, Germany – At least 50 people were injured after inhaling an unknown toxin that caused health problems, German news agency, Hamburger Morgenpost, reported.

Security forces arrived quickly at the scene and started evacuating the terminals 1 and 2 until the firefighters tried to locate the source of toxin that provoked dizziness, breathing problems, irritated eyes and nausea.

On Sunday morning, people at the airport’s terminal first noticed the strange smell than started to feel sick, reporting they have difficulties breathing.

Because of the symptoms that resemble the ones of people who suffered a pepper spray attack, it is logical to assume that the toxin might have been released on purpose. Terrorist attack, however, was ruled out by the authorities.

According to the firefighter’s spokesperson, a pepper spray could have caused the incident. Reportedly, firefighters located a possible source in a container put into the airport’s air-conditioning system.

The cartridge found by firefighters was sent for analysis. Meanwhile, media cite authorities who refer to it as an “unknown toxin” that caused the Hamburg airport evacuation.

Entire area was under emergency lockdown until Sunday afternoon. The departures were delayed approximately one hour, according to the officials who ruled out the terrorist attack.

An airport official earlier said that a gas leak could be behind the breathing health problems, DPA reported. German newspaper, Bild, cited an unidentified source from the firefighters brigade saying that the unknown toxin might have spread through the airport’s air-conditioning system.

The fire brigade that responded to the call had set up the first aid posts for those who inhaled the substance.

Because of the emergency, flights were cancelled for more than an hour and S-Bahn railways were closed, leaving the airport on complete lockdown.

The air traffic resumed at around 2 pm local time (13:00 GMT).