Radioactive leak seals off part of Barcelona airport 

Alert deactivated after securing material from broken box

A flight departing from Barcelona Airport
A flight departing from Barcelona Airport / Àlex Recolons / Arxiu ACN

ACN | @agenciaacn | Barcelona

February 20, 2024 05:49 PM

On Tuesday morning, Barcelona Airport’s Terminal 1 was partially sealed off after it was discovered that the outer packaging of a box containing medical material with radioactive substances had broken.

The box was found in the hold of a Swiss Airline plane flying between Barcelona and Zurich. 

Firefighters specializing in chemical hazards were dispatched to the scene, as well as special emergency responders, although no medical assistance was required.  

After the discovery, a security perimeter was set up and preventive alerts from the Special Plan for Radiological Emergencies of Catalonia (RADCAT) and the Catalan Aviation Emergency Plan were activated. 

Also present were the Civil Protection and the Radioactive Activities Coordination Service (SCAR), which dealt with the leak and will now carry out tests on the radioactive material.  

When the leak was discovered, the plane had just landed in Barcelona, and all 127 passengers and five flight attendants had already disembarked.  

The 143 passengers who had just boarded the flight to go to Switzerland were confined to the airport but were able to continue their journey a few hours later.

No changes in airport operations were noted during the episode, and the alert was deactivated around 13.30.