United flight turns back after passenger’s portable battery catches fire
A United Airlines passenger’s portable battery pack caught fire on a flight on Tuesday, causing the plane to to divert.
United Airlines Flight 2664 made the decision to turn back to its departure airport, San Diego, soon afterwards.
The plane was due to travelfrom San Diego to New Jersey on 7 February when the incident happened shortly after take-off, at around 7:30am, the airline confirmed.
Ten minutes into the morning flight, a passenger’s portable battery pack caught fire, causing flames to appear in the cabin. The battery pack was placed into a thermal containment bag, which isolated the fire.
The plane was returned to its departure airport, and landed just over half an hour after take-off.
United Airlines praised its crew’s “quick actions in prioritizing the safety of everyone on board”.
San Diego Fire Department attended the scene and four crew members were taken to hospital, while a further two people were checked over at the airport.
The fire department’s social media account shared an update on Tuesday.
San Diego Fire Department tweeted: “@SDFD crews at San Diego International Airport for a plane that came in with an external battery pack on fire in the cabin. Flight crew prevented the fire from spreading to the cabin.
“Two patients transported to hospital and more being evaluated.”
“SDFD evaluated all passengers and crew. Total of 4 patients transported. Two others opted not to be transported,” a second tweet added.
The Federal Aviation Authority is investigating the incident.
A spokesperson for United Airlines told The Independent: “United flight 2664 safely returned to San Diego after a customer’s battery pack ignited. Our crew acted quickly to contain the device and medical personnel met the aircraft upon arrival at the gate.”
“Four flight attendants were taken to the hospital as a precaution and two customers were evaluated onsite. We thank our crew for their quick actions in prioritizing the safety of everyone on board the aircraft,” the statement added.
The Federal Aviation Authority reported 406 lithium battery incidents between March-October last year, with 177 of those in the battery pack category.
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