E-Cigarette Catches Fire Midflight, Forces Emergency Landing

Oct 3, 2018

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Lithium batteries continue to cause serious problems for airlines.

On Tuesday, Turkish carrier Pegasus Airlines had to conduct an emergency landing after a passenger’s electronic cigarette caught fire mid-flight.

Flight 1135, operated by a Boeing 737-800, was en-route to Paris-Orly (ORY) after taking off from Istanbul (SAW) when the incident occurred.

Flight crew were alerted when the aircraft’s smoke alarms went off in the cargo hold — allegedly due to an e-cigarette’s battery bursting into flames. Pilots decided to perform an emergency landing at Zagreb (ZGB) in Croatia — about halfway along their journey to Paris.

FlightRadar24 captured the diverted aircraft’s flight path:

Image by FlightRadar24.

Passengers were evacuated upon landing and images show emergency vehicles surrounding the aircraft in Zagreb. Turkish Air News reports that “no intervention by fire brigade needed.” It’s possible the aircraft’s fire suppression system extinguished the flames.

No injuries were reported, and the Daily Sabah reports that the airline has denied claims that the landing was caused by an engine failure.

In a recent study, the US Federal Aviation Administration found that a single lithium battery has the potential to take down an entire aircraft. It said that if a battery overheats and explodes in an aircraft’s cargo hold, the plane’s fire suppression system may not be strong enough to extinguish the fire.

Earlier this year, a Pegasus 737-800 skidded off a runway in Trabzon, Turkey, and nearly ended up in the Black Sea.

Featured image courtesy of Turkish Aviation News / Twitter.

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