Deadly shootout at Albania’s airport

epa00832907 (FILES) This undated file picture shows passengers waiting in frint of Rinas Airport in Tirana, from where a Turkish Airlines plane left for Istanbul, but was hijacked while flying above Greece, on Tuesday 03 October 2006. The two Turkish extremists who hijacked a Turkish Airlines plane and forced it to land in the Italian city of Brindisi have turned themselves in to the police and are now in the hands of the Italian police. The two have allegeldy applied for political asylum in Italy. EPA/MALTON DIBRA

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A gang of thieves broke into Tirana International Airport and grabbed bags of cash as they were about to be loaded onto an Austrian Airlines plane flying to Vienna.

As they made their escape, a gunfight erupted as Albanian police gave chase and one of the gang members was killed.

Reports in the Albanian Daily News put the figure of the amount stolen at €10 million.
Four people have so far been arrested and up to 40 questioned, including airport security staff. There have been several robberies at the airport in recent years, raising questions about security and the response of the police.

The authorities say the thieves got into the premises via a secondary gate. Local media reports say they drove a van, posing as tax investigators, and pulled up on the tarmac as the cash was about to be loaded onto an Austrian Airlines plane.

An Austrian Airlines spokeswoman said that boarding had just taken place and there was never any danger for crew and passengers. The flight – believed to be OS848 – was delayed for three hours but later took off for Vienna.

Police said the money was due to be transported to a bank in the Austrian capital. This is common practice as Albania’s central bank reportedly does not accept large deposits, so cash is often sent via Tirana airport.

Austrian Airlines says no further cash transfers will be made to Vienna as a security measure.
Via The Albanian Daily News

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