The furore surrounding the Samsung Note 7 mobile phones catching fire has brought the dangers of battery fires on board aircraft very much into the public domain.

 

And it adds to the theory that a load of burning lithium-ion batteries could have brought down the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 which crashed into the Southern Indian Ocean in March 2014.

 

One theory is that it was filled with deadly carbon monoxide from a load of burning lithium-ion batteries in the cargo hold.

 

Lithium-ion batteries - which are used in mobile phones and laptops - have been responsible for a number of fires on planes.

 

The Malaysian Airlines flight disappeared on March 8, with 239 passengers and crew on board after diverting from its planned route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. 

 

The Mail Online reports that US pilot and aviation engineer Bruce Robertson claims the highly flammable batteries in the cargo hold were responsible for the disaster.

 

He insists the batteries had triggered a fire aboard the plane, which led co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid to turn the plane around and place it into a descent in an attempt to perform an emergency landing.

 

But Mr Hamid inhaled the toxic fumes, causing the aircraft to switch to the autopilot mode as it flew for several hours before crashing into the Southern Indian Ocean.

 

Mr Robertson also claims the search teams, led by Australia, have been looking in the wrong part of the Indian Ocean, suggesting the missing plane came down west of Exmouth in Western Australia. 

 

He added: “There you have it - no conspiracies, no evil intent, just a simple industrial accident that took a while to play out due to automation trying to save the situation.”

 

Initial theories have claimed Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah locked his co-pilot out of the cockpit and deliberately crashed the plane into the Indian Ocean but his family have denied the allegations.

 

According to US-based Federal Aviation Administration, lithium-ion batteries carried in the cargo or baggage have been responsible for more than 140 incidents between March 1991 and February 2014.

 

In rare cases, aircraft have been destroyed as a result of fires started from the devices, although they have been cargo planes in both incidents.

 

* A pioneering invention called an AvSax can minimise the fire danger in seconds with its unique use of water.

Simply pour at least two litres of water into an AvSax and then drop the burning device into the bag. The water activates a polymer gel inside the bag’s lining causing it to expand around the device. Should the device keep on burning then the AvSax is tough enough to absorb the force.