Wednesday, December 13The Voice of London

LIVE: Gatwick Airport North Terminal Evacuated

A major security alert was sparked at Gatwick Airport. The North Terminal was evacuated and a man was detained due to “suspicious actions”, the BBC reported. Bomb squad experts were immediately sent to the airport. Police are still investigating the circumstances of the incident. In the wake of the massacre in Paris, UK airports and ports remain on high alert.

Words: Mariya Savova

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People being evacuated from Gatwick Airport North Terminal. Source: @TimUnwin / Twitter

Summary:

As a precautionary measure passengers were evacuated from the North Terminal of Gatwick Airport due to “suspicious package”, found in the building. Hundreds of people were moved to nearby hotels, where they spent more than five hours without knowing what exactly was happening. In the meantime, speculations kept circulating on social media. Around 4pm the Press Association reported that a 41-year-old French man was being questioned by Sussex Police after “what appears to be a firearm” was found at Gatwick and removed for forensic examination. The man had allegedly discarded the suspected weapon, for which he was arrested at the scene.* The airport’s North Terminal has now re-opened.

This live blog has ended.

*15 November update: The French man who was arrested at Gatwick yesterday was named as Jerome Chauris, from Vendôme, and is due to appear in court on Monday, The Guardian reported. He has been charged with possessing an air rifle and a knife in an aerodrome.

Live Updates


 

4:05pm

  • Passengers are finally being allowed back to Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal after being evacuated to nearby hotels and waiting for almost six hours.


4:00pm

  • The Press Association has just reported that a 41-year-old French man is being questioned by Sussex Police after “what appears to be a firearm” was found at Gatwick’s North Terminal.


3:50pm

  • Passengers are being told that they will probably have to wait inside for another half an hour.


3:30pm

  • Eyewitnesses tweet that staff and flight crews are now starting to go back to the North Terminal. It probably won’t be long until they start letting people back in.


3:15pm

  • People are still waiting at lobbies of nearby hotels. Passengers have been stuck there for more than five hours now.


1:30pm

  • A statement on Gatwick Airport’s website says that passengers due to arrive at the North Terminal would now be arriving at the South Terminal. “Roads around the terminal are also temporarily closed and there is no access for vehicles,” the statement adds. In the meantime, many passengers remain on lockdown.

1:20pm

  • The North Terminal remains closed, says Gatwick Airport. Most flights are still scheduled to depart later today. Some companies, however, have suspended all of their planned flights. Passengers are advised to check with their carrier as soon as possible.


1:15pm

  • Sky News reporter says North Terminal is still shut and hundreds of people are now waiting behind makeshift barriers at the airport’s South Terminal.


1:05pm

  • A man has been arrested “on suspicion of discarding package” at Gatwick’s North Terminal, the BBC has just reported.


12:45pm

  • Gatwick Airport has apologised for the “on-going disruption” but, still, no official information has been released.


12:40pm

  • Passengers at Gatwick’s South Terminal are being held up as well.


12:35pm

  • Travellers, who have been moved to a nearby hotel, are becoming frustrated as no information is being given to them.


12:25pm

  • Hotels near Gatwick are also taking precautionary measures.

https://twitter.com/roddymansfield/status/665503695958839296


12:05pm

  • In a statement, published by Sussex Police, Detective Superintendent Nick May said: “At this time, we are investigating the circumstances of the incident and it is too early to say what the item may be. However, given the events in Paris on Friday evening, there is heightened awareness around any such incident and it is best that we treat the matter in all seriousness.”

11:55am

  • According to bystanders, the bomb disposal team has arrived on the scene.


11:50am

  • Travellers are being moved once again.


11:45am


11:40am

  • Lots of FALSE RUMOURS about bombs, grenades or “guy with a gun in his bag” are flying around social media but, we repeat, NOTHING HAS BEEN CONFIRMED YET.

11:35am

  • Hundreds of people are waiting at the airport at the moment.


11:10am

  • No official information has been released yet but according to comments on social media by people on the scene, passengers are on lockdown at Jubilee House, near Gatwick’s North Terminal.


11:00am

  • ITV News reports that the evacuation is due to “suspicious article”. Sussex Police told ITV: “At this time police are dealing with an incident involving a suspicious article in the North Terminal. Currently the North Terminal is being evacuated as a precaution.”


10:50am

  • Gatwick Airport has confirmed information that the North Terminal has been evacuated as a “precautionary measure”.


10:35am

  • Pictures, shared on Twitter by passengers, show hundreds of people making their way outside the terminal. Tim Unwin, a geography professor at the University of London, posted a photo of evacuated travellers standing in the rain outside the North Terminal. Around 10am he tweeted that the terminal’s first floor was closed and check-in was moved. After that evacuation began.


10:30am

  • According to reports, Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal is being evacuated. Police were reportedly called to the airport at 9.30am this morning and passengers were told to stay away from glass windows after the alarm was raised. A spokesperson for Sussex Police told the press “it is for the protection of the public.”

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