‘Chem­i­cal in­ci­dent’ grounds planes

Two taken to hos­pi­tal, dozens treated as Lon­don City Air­port evac­u­ated

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

LON­DON: Two peo­ple have been taken to hos­pi­tal and dozens treated at Lon­don City Air­port af­ter re­ports of a “chem­i­cal in­ci­dent”.

The air­port was evac­u­ated yes­ter­day af­ter­noon af­ter the “in­ci­dent” as the UK cap­i­tal re­mained on high alert fol­low­ing a ter­ror alert at a tube sta­tion on Thurs­day.

The Lon­don Am­bu­lance ser­vice said 27 peo­ple were treated at the scene suf­fer­ing from breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, with two pa­tients’ cases so se­vere they had to be taken to hos­pi­tal.

Hun­dreds of pas­sen­gers and staff were or­dered to leave the ter­mi­nal build­ing mid-af­ter­noon yes­ter­day, with many re­port­edly claim­ing they felt un­well, and no flights were able to de­part or land fol­low­ing re­ports of a fire.

The air­port re-opened late last night.

An air­port spokesman said: “The air­port has re­opened. We thank pas­sen­gers for their pa­tience. Ac­cess to the ter­mi­nal will be stag­gered and dis­rup­tion to flights is ex­pected into the evening.”

In­com­ing in­ter­na­tional flights were di­verted from the air­port and pas­sen­gers were left stranded on planes which had al­ready landed.

It was not yet known how long it would take for nor­mal ser­vice to be re­sumed.

How­ever, the Lon­don Fire Bri­gade has re­leased a state­ment declar­ing the area safe.

A spokesman said: “Two com­plete sweeps of the air­port build­ing were car­ried out jointly by fire­fight­ers and po­lice of­fi­cers both wear­ing pro­tec­tive equip­ment.

“No el­e­vated read­ings were found and the build­ing was ven­ti­lated, searched and de­clared safe.”

Pictures from the scene showed crowds gath­er­ing on the tar­mac and the run­way.

All flights were sus­pended and sev­eral in­com­ing planes from Frank­furt, Am­s­ter­dam, Belfast and Paris were di­verted to other air­ports.

Paul Gib­son, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions for the Lon­don Am­bu­lance Ser­vice, said: “We have treated a to­tal of 27 pa­tients at the in­ci­dent at Lon­don City Air­port. We sent a num­ber of re­sources to the scene, in­clud­ing two sin­gle re­spon­ders in cars, four am­bu­lance crews, an in­ci­dent re­sponse of­fi­cer and our haz­ardous area re­sponse team (medics spe­cially trained to treat peo­ple in haz­ardous sit­u­a­tions).

“All pa­tients were treated for mi­nor breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and two were taken to hos­pi­tal.

“The in­ci­dent is now stood down.”

Boxer David Haye was at the air­port await­ing a flight to Scot­land when the evac­u­a­tion hap­pened. He tweeted: “#Ci­tyAir­port got evac­u­ated when ev­ery­body started cough­ing un­con­trol­lably.”

Many pas­sen­gers com­plained about the lack of in­for- ma­tion.Pas­sen­gers were left to mill about on the air­port’s tar­mac around planes as they waited to find out more.

One posted on the air­port’s Face­book page: “Last up­date was an hour ago.

“Ap­pre­ci­ate there is a lot to deal with but it would cer­tainly be use­ful to get more fre­quent up­dates.

“Es­pe­cially as phones lines are busy and can’t get thought to travel agents, etc.”

An­other said her hus­band was stuck out­side, adding: “It is cold, no food, etc.”

Twit­ter user Chris Daly said: “Lon­don City Air­port’s on fire ap­par­ently. All evac­u­ated to the tar­mac.”

An­other cus­tomer said on In­sta­gram: “Fire alarm at Lon­don City Air­port. “Bit sur­real!” The in­ci­dent came 24 hours af­ter North Green­wich Tube Sta­tion in the cap­i­tal was closed fol­low­ing a “ter­ror-re­lated in­ci­dent”.

A sus­pi­cious pack­age was det­o­nated by the bomb squad af­ter pas­sen­gers were evac­u­ated about 11am and a huge sec­tion of the Ju­bilee line was sus­pended.

The sta­tion was closed for more than six hours and no trains ran be­tween Strat­ford and Ca­nary Wharf un­til about 3.15pm.

A 19-year-old man was Tasered and ar­rested un­der the Ter­ror­ism Act in con­nec­tion with the in­ci­dent.

Wit­nesses de­scribed how of­fi­cers shouted “armed po­lice, don’t strug­gle” as they ar­rested the white- bearded man wear­ing a hoodie, jacket, jeans and train­ers.

Se­cu­rity has been ramped up on Lon­don’s pub­lic trans­port network. – Daily Mail

PIC­TURE: AP

Pas­sen­gers stand about af­ter an evac­u­a­tion of Lon­don City Air­port yes­ter­day.

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