Lithium Battery Fire Creates Scare Aboard International Flight

Posted on August 4,2017 by Roger Marks

Quick thinking and effective lithium battery safety training helped the crew of a SriLankan Airlines flight avert a major incident involving a smoking lithium battery aboard their plane.

Srilanka.jpgWhen flight crew noticed smoke coming from an overhead bin, they sprang into action and sprayed the bag down with a fire extinguisher. When that didn’t work, the crew—following their lithium battery fire procedure—quickly submerged the smoking bag in water to put out the fire.

Once the immediate threat was neutralized, the crew discovered a lithium battery pack and cell phones in the bag. Zero injuries were reported among the crew or the 202 passengers aboard the Airbus 330-200 plane, which landed in Sri Lanka as scheduled.
This isn’t the first (or last) time a lithium battery has ignited in transport aboard a passenger plane. In June, a San Francisco-bound commercial flight was forced to make an emergency landing when a lithium battery-powered device caught fire in a passenger’s carry-on bag.

Watch this video to learn more about how lithium batteries become a fire hazard—in the home, in the workplace, and in transportation.


In recent years, major airlines have expressed growing uncertainty about the safety of these batteries aboard cargo and passenger aircraft. Lithium battery fires have the potential to burn out of controleven overwhelming the fire suppression system aboard modern aircraft, according to Boeing.

It’s not just airlines who are concerned about lithium batteries. In April of this year, a train car hauling lithium batteries outside of Houston, Texas reportedly caught fire. While no injuries were reported, emergency responders were called to extinguish the blaze. 

Expert Lithium Battery Shipping and Safety Training

Learn the latest regulations and be confident you know what it takes to get your lithium battery shipments classified, packaged, marked, labeled, handled and documented properly. Join us for a live, expert-led Shipping Lithium Batteries (Function-Specific) Webinar on August 22 or check out the Shipping Lithium Batteries Online Course for full DG training you can complete anytime, anywhere. 

Employees who handle lithium batteries in the workplace must know the hazards these batteries pose and how to protect themselves and co-workers. The interactive Lithium Battery Safety Online Course is designed specifically for employees who handle and store lithium-ion or lithium-metal batteries at work.

Related Articles

/Lion News/August 2017/Lithium Battery Fire Creates Scare Aboard International Flight