Hundreds of people have been evacuated from London City Airport, with many requiring treatment for breathing difficulties in what officials believe could have been a CS gas attack.
In total, around 500 people were forced to leave the airport, near Canary Wharf, after a number of passengers reported feeling unwell.
Paramedics were called to the scene, treating 26 people on site, and rushing two to hospital.
It took three hours for the airport to be declared safe to go back into, with police officers reporting they had found what could be a CS gas spray.
While the incident led many to fear they could be the victims of a terror attack, the Metropolitan Police have released a statement saying they do not believe it was “terrorist related”.
The statement continues: “A search of the airport led to the discovery of what is believed to be a CS gas spray. Whilst the cause of the incident has not yet been confirmed, officers are investigating whether it was the result of an accidental discharge of the spray.”
While the airport reopened, passengers were still being told that there would be delays as officials tried to catch up on the flights which should have departed and arrived during the evacuation.
The London Fire Brigade said it had carried out two full searches of the airport building along with police, with officers from both forces wearing protective equipment.
In a statement, the fire brigade said that no elevated readings of chemical gases were found within the airport but the building was ventilated as a precaution and found to be safe.
The fire alarm system was used to alert the public of the need to leave the building.
People who had been checking in said they began to feel so unwell that they couldn’t carry on a conversation.
One passenger had been trying to check in for a flight to Edinburgh when: “We were queuing up and we were just about to check our bags in, and I was talking and started to cough to the point I was not able to keep talking.
“It was getting quite bad and we saw other people starting to cough at the same time. The people behind the desk were coughing the most and quite aggressively. Within two minutes, they shouted for everyone to get out.”
The passenger said while there was no smell or any indication that a chemical was to blame, there was widespread panic, with people shouting and rushing for the exits.