Airline cabin crew members averts mid-air fire caused by a cellular phone

Image by NavJot Singh

Crew members of a Sri Lankan airplane with 202 passengers on board managed to extinguish a fire that occurred in mid-flight; possibly caused by a cell phone battery, Sri Lankan Airlines said Monday.

The incident took place on Sunday during a 70-minute flight from Cochin (India) to Colombo.

Just after the distribution of the meal trays, alert cabin crew members of the A330-200 aircraft noticed smoke escaping from a bag placed in the hand baggage compartment.

The cabin manager and the captain were immediately informed.

A crew extinguished the fire by plunging the burning bag into a container full of water, after failing to control the fire with a fire extinguisher, the company said; whereby a “major incident” was avoided.

“After investigation, the crew discovered a lithium-ion battery and two cell phones in the bag,” Sri Lankan Airlines said in a statement; without mentioning the model of the phone in question.

Fortunately, no one got injured.