A burning mobile phone forced a passenger plane to make an unscheduled stop.
The KLM flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur diverted to the Thai island of Phuket after smoke accumulated in the cabin because a phone had overheated.
The Boeing 777 was at around 39,000ft and about 100 nautical miles northwest of Phuket when the incident happened.
A statement from KLM said: “The crew handled the situation well and the captain opted to land the aircraft as a precautionary measure. The aircraft landed safely and at no time were passengers or crew in danger.’’
But it did cause severe disruption to the passengers as the plane had to remain at Phuket for 18 hours due to compulsory crew work and rest times
This is the latest in a series of problems on planes caused by lithium batteries and mobile phones.
Airlines and regulators warn people not to try and retrieve their device if they drop it after a number of fires were caused by phones being crushed in seat mechanisms.
But the devices also overheat spontaneously.
Passengers on a China Southern flight from Guangzhou to Shanghai in February were forced to disembark after a power bank caught fire in an overhead locker.
Images of the fire went viral after they were posted by other passengers and crew member could be seen using water or juice to try and douse it.
One way to tackle these mobile phone fires and avoid the need for an emergency landing is to use AvSax fire containment bags which have just won the highly prestigious Queen’s Award for Innovation in the UK.
They are now on board several major airlines worldwide and were deployed 27 times in 2017.
If an electronic device starts to seriously overheat or emit smoke the cabin crew will pour at least two litres of water into an AvSax. It is imperative to first knock down the flames from the device using an on board halon fire extinguisher, then transfer the device into AvSax before it reignites. Additional water is then 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 AvSax is tough enough to absorb the energy.
The AvSax cools the batteries in the device, reducing the likelihood of the battery igniting but if it does go into thermal runaway 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.