ATW Online; Thursday August 25, 2016
Lost Mobile Phone Caused Qantas A380 Smoke Incident
Good call.The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released its report into a smoke incident on a Qantas Airways Airbus A380 that was caused by a mobile phone lithium battery that became caught in and crushed by the aircraft seat mechanism.
The aircraft, registered VH-OQD, was operating under flight number QF7 from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth on May 15. About two hours short of Dallas, a passenger alerted the crew to smoke in the cabin, which was coming from seat 19F on the upper deck.
“The crew found a crushed personal electronic device (PED) wedged tightly in the seat mechanism. The cabin crew assessed that the crushed PED contained a lithium battery. By that time, the PED was no longer emitting smoke; however, a strong, acrid smell remained in the cabin. The crew then maneuvered the seat and freed the PED. The crew placed the PED in a jug of water, which was then put in a metal box and monitored for the remainder of the flight,” the ATSB said in its final report, released Aug. 25.
The ATSB commended the crew on their “rapid and coordinated” response, which followed company fire-drill procedures.
No passengers were injured and the aircraft was not damaged in the incident.
The ATSB described the event as a serious incident that highlights the hazards of transporting lithium-ion battery powered PEDs. The ATSB has received 17 notifications of similar incidents of lithium battery thermal events in aircraft over the past six years.
Across the industry, there have been heightened efforts to safeguard against lithium battery fires. As part of this drive, airlines now often include an instruction in their safety briefings, instructing passengers to alert the crew if their mobile phones are lost in their seat mechanisms.
By: Victoria Moores