Passengers were forced to evacuate the Boeing 777-300 ER after a passenger bag in the overhead compartment of China Southern Airlines CZ3539 flight from Guangzhou to Shanghai suddenly burst into flames due to power bank. Passengers were boarding the flight on Sunday when smoke began to fill the cabin.
The fire did not cause further damage to the plane, the airline said as fire crews and security came on board and managed to put out the blaze eventually.
The owner of the bag was taken off the plane to talk to police where the power bank was checked which was powered by a lithium-ion battery and not in use at the time of the fire.
It took three hours for the airline to line up a replacement aircraft for the flight.
The incident happened year after when a woman on a Melbourne-bound flight suffered burns after the battery-operated headphones she was using exploded and caught fire. The passenger was listening to music and napping on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne when about two hours into the journey the headphones caught fire and exploded.
The incident prompted the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to issue a warning to the public reminding airline passengers about the dangers of battery-powered devices on flights.
With the increase in numbers of such incidents aboard planes, US airlines have banned so-called ‘smart’ luggage which has USB ports for charging devices.