A passenger plane had to make an emergency landing after an electronic cigarette began to burn.
The incident will have cost Wizz Air money along with the time and trouble of passengers being delayed.
According to the Aviation Herald the Airbus flying from Keflavik in Iceland to Wroclaw in Poland with 147 people on board was climbing out of Keflavik about 20 minutes into the flight when a passenger’s electronic cigarette began to emit smoke.
This prompted the flight crew to declare an emergency and return to Keflavik. Cabin crew cooled the device and stored it into a safe container. The aircraft landed safely back in Keflavik about 40 minutes after departure.
The aircraft was able to depart again about four hours after the first departure and reached Wroclaw with a delay of 3.5 hours.
But a passenger on the plane later posted on the Aviation Herald website: “I was on that plane. This information isn’t completely true. The cigarette exploded after the air hostess used water to extinguish the fire and our plane arrived at 1.15am on September 15 so with 24.5 hours delay.”
This could have been avoided if the plane had been equipped with an AvSax fire containment bag which is are now carried on several major airlines worldwide.
They have been deployed on aircraft 20 times so far this year and means they don’t need to make an emergency landing and continue the flight confident the bag has solved the problem. The average cost of an emergency diversion in the USA is $400,000.
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 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 AvSax is tough enough to absorb the force.
The AvSax cools the batteries in the device, reducing the likelihood of the battery catching fire 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.