Nowadays, electronic accessories such as power banks are available at cheap prices. However, you should buy only those power banks which are manufactured by reputed companies. The passengers and crew members on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight carrying 202 passengers from Kochi to Colombo had a narrow escape on July 31 when the fire was spotted from the portable power bank inside the check-in baggage. However, the crew members managed to extinguish the fire and averted a major accident.
According to airline sources, the fire was triggered by a lithium ion-enabled portable power bank placed in an overhead locker. The crew noticed smoke erupting from an overhead cabin after a meal service. The crew initially used a fire extinguisher to put off the fire on the suspected luggage. However, they had to immerse the luggage into the water after the initial attempt to put off the fire failed.
The main reason for the fire has been attributed to a short circuit in the device. As a result of the short circuit, the fire will occur due to overheating and combustion. Moreover, a sudden increase in the ambient temperature above 60-degree Celsius and overcharging of the battery can also result in explosion and fire.
We don’t have any information about whether the recent mid-flight fire was caused while charging any device. Sometimes, passengers plug-in their smartphones and tablets to a power bank and place it inside the baggage so that it will be charged during the flight time.
After the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco in 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) suggested that airlines should not allow transportation of lithium batteries as bulk cargo. However, passengers can carry devices with lithium-ion batteries in their hand luggage and not inside checked-in baggage.
Some of the devices operated using lithium batteries are laptops, mobile phones, digital cameras, power banks, Bluetooth headphones, and e-cigarettes. To recall, an airline flying from China to Japan made an emergency landing in February 2017 after a portable power bank and a smartphone caused fire and explosion.
Source: The Times of India Newspaper