Damaged phone forces British Airways flight to divert


A British Airways Boeing 777-200ER was diverted to Bermuda after a smartphone started filling the cabin with smoke. 

The plane, registered G-VIIX, was carrying out Flight BA2167 from London Gatwick Airport (LGW), United Kingdom, to Tampa Airport (TPA) in Florida, United States with 241 people on board on February 13, 2020. 

The flight was nearing the island of Bermuda when smoke started to fill the cabin. Fearing an electrical problem, the flight crew declared an emergency and diverted to L.F. Wade International Airport (BDA) in Bermuda, where it was met by 12 fire engines and 17 firefighters, according to a spokesman for the Bermuda Fire and Rescue quoted by the local media The Royal Gazette.

The aircraft landed safely on runway 30 and passengers were deplaned normally using airstairs. After a short investigation, the cause of the smoke was found to be a smartphone that became stuck in one of the passenger seats. The lithium-ion battery was seemingly damaged, which caused it to overheat. Fortunately, thermal runaway did not cause further damage.

Passengers were eventually allowed back into the aircraft, which landed in Tampa with a delay of 2h30.

Since February 2016, the ICAO Council has adopted a new aviation safety measure by banning all shipments of lithium-ion batteries in the cargo hold on passenger planes. However, the prohibition applies only to spare lithium-ion batteries such as power banks, not to those contained in personal electronic devices carried by passengers or crew.


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