Flight delayed after portable charger bursts into flames

A portable charger burst into flames in the overhead luggage compartment of a China Southern Airlines plane as passengers were boarding at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport.

The incident on Sunday caused a three-hour delay for Flight CZ3539, which had been scheduled to leave for Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport at around noon.

China Southern Airlines said on Chinese microblogging site Weibo that a passenger's cabin bag had emitted smoke during the boarding process.

However, the fire was extinguished quickly by airport firefighters and security officers, it said.

No one was injured in the incident and there was only minor damage to the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Passengers were later put on a replacement flight.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the fire was caused by a portable charger, which was not in use at the time.

A flight attendant trying to douse the flames from a passenger's cabin bag. The incident on the China Southern Airlines plane took place as passengers were boarding in Guangzhou.
A flight attendant trying to douse the flames from a passenger's cabin bag. The incident on the China Southern Airlines plane took place as passengers were boarding in Guangzhou. PHOTO: CHINA AVIATION REVIEW

The owner of the bag is helping with investigations.

In a video that has been making the rounds online, a flight attendant and a passenger are seen trying to douse the flames using bottles of water and juice.

Portable chargers and lithium-ion batteries - used in many consumer devices from laptops to toys - typically have to be hand-carried on flights and cannot be in check-in luggage.

Ng Huiwen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2018, with the headline 'Flight delayed after portable charger bursts into flames'. Print Edition | Subscribe