‘Chemical incident’ grounds planes
Two taken to hospital, dozens treated as London City Airport evacuated
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
Passengers stand about after an evacuation of London City Airport yesterday.