Hamburg Airport evacuated as unknown toxin harms passengers

The airport in Hamburg, northern Germany was shut down and all flights were suspended for almost an hour after bad odour left a number of passenges incapacitated.

Hundreds of passengers have been evacuated from Hamburg Airport after 50 people were injured by an unknown toxin believed to be spreading through the airport's air conditioning system.

Firefighters and ambulances were rushed to the scene after the incident, which occurred in an area where passenger luggage is scanned by security staff.

Evacuees who were uninjured had to wait outside in freezing temperatures.

Schönhardt said there was "no evidence" that the incident was a terrorist attack. It was not clear how the evacuation affected air traffic at the airport.

Both terminals was cleared and flights were halted after people complained of eye irritation and coughs.

Firefighters later said they had found an empty cartridge that was thought to have contained pepper spray, which is sold in Germany for personal self-defence.

Maik Lewerenz, spokesman for the federal Hamburg police, said that about 68 people were injured by an unknown substance.

According to live flight tracking website, some flights were diverted to other airports.