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Poisonous fumes sicken 53 people at Berlin airport

BERLIN, GERMANY (BNO NEWS) -- More than 50 people became ill Saturday when they were affected by poisonous fumes at a major airport in the German capital of Berlin, local authorities said. Dozens of people were taken to area hospitals but none of them were seriously injured.

The incident began at around 7 a.m. local time when employees and passengers at Berlin Tegel Airport, the main international airport in the German capital, reported experiencing nausea and sore eyes. The reports prompted authorities to close the airport's inner lobby and terminal A.

Scores of emergency personnel responded to the airport to investigate the source of the poisonous fumes. "We investigated the situation to determine the cause and whether any dangerous substances were present," said Ralf Kunkel, a spokesman for the airport. "We haven't found anything and therefore believe cleaning products were responsible."

Police said its officers from the forensic department detected a high level of ammonia in the air, likely caused by employees who used the wrong mixture of disinfectant while cleaning overnight.

Kunkel said 53 people, including employees, passengers and firefighters who responded to the scene, reported feeling sick and were treated. "Fortunately no one was seriously injured," he said. "Of the 53 people who felt sick, some of them were treated at the airport. Thirty-eight others were transported to the hospital and were released after a short period of treatment."

Both the airport's inner lobby and terminal A were reopened later on Saturday.

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