PASSENGERS were ordered to evacuate Hamburg airport yesterday morning after dozens of people complained of breathing problems, nausea and burning eyes.
They waited outside the terminal in near freezing temperatures while fire crews and ambulances raced to the scene of the incident which centred on a security check area.
An area outside the airport was set aside for the treatment of around 68 people — both passengers and members of staff — who were struck down. The fire service said the contents of a discharged pepper spray canister found in a bin had most likely seeped into the air conditioning system, spreading it through the airport, German media reported.
Fourteen flights were cancelled and some were diverted or delayed following the toxic scare, which was not treated as terror related.
Passengers not suitably dressed for the winter weather were let back into the terminal early before air traffic started running again almost two hours after the alarm was raised.