A plane had to divert in the USA after a lithium-ion battery caught fire on board.

Details remain sketchy about the exact cause of the blaze on the Frontier Airlines Airbus flying from Orlando in Florida to Phoenix in Arizona on Saturday, February 3.

It had just taken off when the crew warned of smoke in the cabin and the oxygen masks dropped down for the passengers.

The plane had climbed to 32,250ft and then diverted to Tampa in Florida where the emergency services were alerted and raced to support the plane when it landed 40 minutes after taking off.

The crew confirmed the fire had been brought under control. Two people suffered minor burns.

The aircraft remained at Tampa for six hours before eventually continuing on its journey to Phoenix.

The average cost of an emergency diversion in the USA is $400,000 but this can be avoided with Vasa fire containment bags which are now on board several major airlines worldwide. 

They were deployed on aircraft 20 times in 2017 which means the aircraft don’t need to make an emergency landing and can continue the flight confident the bag has solved the problem.

If an electronic device starts to seriously overheat or emit smoke the cabin crew will pour at least two litres of water into an Vasa and then drop the burning device into the bag, adding additional water as required. The water activates the polymer gel inside the bag causing it to expand around the device. Should the device keep on venting then the Vasa is tough enough to absorb the force. 

The Vasa cools the batteries in the device, reducing the likelihood of the battery catching fire but if it does go into what is known as thermal runaway when all the battery cells catch fire at incredibly hot temperatures it is all contained within the bag.

Amazingly, the water is absorbed into the internal lining of the bag so the device is dry when it is removed.