Gunman reportedly killed in brazen Albanian airport heist

OE-LBY the aircraft involved in the incident

OE-LBY the aircraft involved in the incident

A vehicle used by robbers in a previous heist at Tirana International Airport in June 2016.

A gang of robbers in army uniform staged an armed hold-up at Tirana airport, stealing up to €10 million in cash that was being loaded into the hold of an Austrian Airlines plane as passengers watched from their window seats.

While fleeing from police, one gunman was killed, the others reportedly escaped with the stolen money.

Albanian media showed footage of a white van carrying tax agency signs being driven inside the airport fence before the robbery at around 15:00 on Tuesday. The flight - believed to be OS848 - was delayed for three hours but later took off for Vienna. As a result, one of the robbers was shot dead.

According to media reports from the scene, the dead man was found with an assault weapon, a grenade and magazines.

Airports in Albania transport hard currency through air shipments via Rinas airport to Vienna, because the central band does not accept their cash deposits. The robbery lasted three or four minutes, reports said.

The search for the robbers is being conducted, helicopters are being used in the operation.

Albanian banks mostly transfer their cash by plane through the country's sole global airport. However, it appears they managed to escape.

The men drove a van onto the airfield at Tirana Airport and threatened staff from an armoured security van at gunpoint as they were loading the plane.

Nearly €1m was stolen in a raid in 2016 not far from the airport.

Police confirmed that a sum of money had been taken during the incident but would not say how much.

In February 2017, thieves made off with 3.2 million euros in a similar heist, while in June 2016, another 995,000 euros was stolen.

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