Firefighters have been spotted climbing up escalators as an airport terminal was evacuated this morning.

Gatwick Airport descended into chaos after a fire alarm sounded, with thousands of holidaymakers spilling out of the North Terminal.

The Argus: The North TerminalThe North Terminal

Holidaymakers were set to be jetting off to destinations across the world this morning when the airport was evacuated.

Firefighters were spotted climbing escalators wearing oxygen tanks and full equipment as fire engines swarmed the terminal.

But passengers have called the evacuation operation a "s**t show" as they said there was no guidance from airport staff.

One traveller tweeted: "No instructions apart from to evacuate. Madness," while another added: "I get fire alarms happen but the operations at Gatwick is a s**t show, I don’t think I’ve seen one person marshalling anyone."

The airport has since reopened to holidaymakers and flights continue to take off from both terminals.

Gatwick has replied to the complaints on Twitter. A spokesman said: "The Departure Lounge was evacuated for a short time due to a fire alarm activation, announcements were being made and all marked fire exits were open.

"Safety and security are our number one priorities."

Security at the airport closed while the evacuation took place, but the airport has assured passengers that "staff are working hard to process passengers as quickly as they can."

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has been approached for comment.