Cabin crew had to take emergency action after an e-cigarette battery overheated on a flight from Canada to Mexico.
The Sunwing plane was en route from Moncton on Canada’s south east coast to Cancun with 193 people on board when a passenger's e-cigarette battery overheated under a seat on April 20.
The Aviation Herald quotes a Transportation Safety Board of Canada report as saying: “During cruise, a passenger’s e-cigarette battery was found overheating under a seat and emitting smoke.
“After the battery had burnt a hole in the passenger’s bag, cabin crew retrieved the e-cigarette and transported it using an empty dry coffee pot in the front galley.
“Cabin crew elected to discharge a Halon fire extinguisher in the coffee pot, filled it with water and placed it into a larger metal container where it was monitored for the remainder of the flight.”
The aircraft continued safely to Cancun and after it was on the ground there for about 2.5 hours departed for the return flight.
Cooling an overheating lithium battery is vital as it could flare up again at any time.
Thousands of passenger aircraft worldwide carry AvSax lithium battery fire mitigation bags as they are designed to contain and cool overheating lithium batteries.
They are now on board around 16,750 aircraft operated by more than 100 airline companies worldwide, including some of the best-known names in the aviation industry. AvSax have been deployed in action at least 33 times on board aircraft since 2017 and on every occasion the aircraft was able to continue safely to its destination with no need to divert or make an emergency landing.
Passengers routinely take hundreds of personal electronic devices such as mobiles phones, iPads and laptops on every flight on all airlines worldwide. All these devices are powered by lithium batteries and there is always a danger one could overheat, catch fire or even explode.
When it overheats, a lithium battery goes into a chemical process called thermal runaway and when this happens it can produce enough heat – up to 900°C (1652°F) – to cause adjacent cells to overheat.
This can cause a lithium battery fire to flare repeatedly and they are then very difficult to put out which is why it must go into a lithium battery fire containment bag as quickly as possible.
AvSax (https://avsax.com/) was devised and manufactured by Environmental Defence Systems Ltd based in Yorkshire, England, and won the Queen’s Award for innovation in the UK, the highest accolade any business can achieve.