Lithium Battery Fire Creates Scare Aboard International Flight
When 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.
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 control—even 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.
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