An Indian passengers mobile phone battery pack that ignited on a Sri Lankan flight caused some anxious moments among passengers on Sunday. However the crew took control of the situation and landed safely without any injury or harm to passengers or crew, officials said.
Flight UL 166 from Kochi with 202 passengers was midway of the 70-minute journey when the incident occurred. The Airline explaining the incident said shortly after the meals were served the alert cabin crew members noticed smoke appearing from an overhead luggage bin.
“The cabin manager and the captain were immediately informed. The aft cabin crew members rapidly armed themselves with fire extinguishers and opened the bin. Upon finding a bag emitting smoke, they sprayed it with an extinguisher.”
“ The crew then removed the bag from the overhead bin and carried it quickly away from the passengers to the aft galley, at which time it began to emit smoke once again at a faster rate. Suspecting a lithium fire, they adopted the lithium fire extinguishing procedure by”.
“immersing the bag in a container of water. The situation was successfully contained and the bag ceased to emit smoke. Upon investigation, the crew found a lithium battery pack and two mobile phones in the bag”, the Airline said in a press release.
The flight crew immediately informed air traffic controllers at BIA and the aircraft was met on arrival by dangerous goods experts, firefighters and other safety related personnel. Since the situation was under control, passengers did not require emergency evacuation and disembarked in the usual manner, they said.
SriLankan Airlines has launched an investigation into the incident, as have the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka.
The Airline said it has been actively involved in global safety measures with regard to spontaneous ignition of Lithium batteries. In October 2016, SriLankan imposed a total ban on the carriage and usage of ‘Samsung Note 7’ on board its aircraft.
SriLankan Airlines commends the crew of flight UL 166 for their vigilance, timely action and calmness under pressure in adopting the proper procedures, which avoided a major incident.