Man ‘holding four-year-old daughter hostage’ at Hamburg airport

Police vehicles block access to Hamburg airport (Bodo Marks/dpa/AP)
Police vehicles block access to Hamburg airport (Bodo Marks/dpa/AP)

German police advised travellers on Sunday not to use Hamburg airport where an armed man is reported to be holding his four-year-old daughter hostage.

The airport, in the northern part of the city, has been closed to passengers and flights since Saturday night when the man broke through a gate with his vehicle and fired a weapon twice into the air, according to German news agency dpa.

Authorities also said the man’s wife had previously contacted them about a child abduction.

Germany Hamburg Airport Incident
Police vehicles block access to Hamburg airport (Bodo Marks/dpa/AP)

Police said the 35-year-old man had his four-year-old daughter inside the car after reportedly taking her from her mother by force in a possible custody battle.

A psychologist has been negotiating with the man for hours and there is no indication that other people could be harmed because the airport has been evacuated of all passengers, police said.

“We must currently assume that he is in possession of a live firearm and possibly also explosive devices of an unknown type,” police wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Germany Hamburg Airport Incident
The man is reported to be holding his young daughter hostage as part of a custody battle (Bodo Marks/dpa via AP)

“Our top priority is to protect the child. According to our current knowledge, the child is physically well,” they added.

The mother of the abducted girl arrived at the airport on Sunday and was receiving psychological support, German news agency dpa reported.

“The mother naturally wants to get to her child as quickly as possible,” Malte Stueben, the head of the German Red Cross crisis intervention team in Hamburg, told dpa.

Germany Hamburg Airport
Hamburg airport has been closed since Saturday night (Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa/AP)

A paediatrician also arrived at the airport to look after the girl once the hostage-taking is over, the news agency reported.

Hundreds of people whose flights could not depart on Saturday night because of the situation were put up at hotels nearby.

Arriving planes were either re-routed to other German airports or cancelled.