Two passengers suffered burns after a portable charger caught fire on a flight from Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, to Singapore, highlighting the risks posed by such devices during air travel.
Video of the incident, which took place on a flight operated by low-cost carrier Scoot on Tuesday, shows flames between two rows of seats.
The footage — posted on several aviation blogs and viral video accounts on Twitter — shows panicked passengers screaming as the crew races to control the fire. When the fire is finally extinguished, the cabin is filled with smoke.
The airline said two passengers suffered “minor burns on their fingers” and the aircraft had to return to the airport terminal.
According to Scoot, the other passengers managed to disembark safely and the injured received first aid and did not need to be transferred to a hospital.
Portable chargers pose risks during flight if they overheat. Some airlines prohibit the item on board and others ask that the crew be notified if the passenger notices that the device is too hot.
The lithium-ion batteries in these chargers provide energy through electrochemical reactions that naturally produce heat.
In a statement, the airline said: “Scoot sincerely apologizes for the incident. The safety of our customers and crew is our top priority. Investigations into the incident are ongoing. We are rescheduling the flight and will provide affected passengers with accommodation and meals.”
It’s not the first time chargers have jeopardized a flight: in 2020, a man was forced to strip to his pants at the airport when an electronic device in his pocket caught fire.
Meanwhile, last month, a Russian Ural Airways flight was evacuated after one of the loaders caught fire on the runway at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport.
*Intern at R7under the supervision of Pablo Marques
The incident has raised awareness of the potential dangers of bringing portable chargers on flights and the importance of following safety regulations. Airlines typically require passengers to check their devices with the crew if they are too hot or malfunctioning.
Passengers should also ensure that their devices are in good condition before boarding the plane and be aware of the risks associated with using such devices during the flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration also recommends that passengers keep their devices in a carry-on bag and avoid placing them in overhead compartments.
It is important to remember that the safety of passengers and crew should always be the top priority when traveling by air.