JetBlue flight 915, from New York to San Francisco was diverted to Michigen last week after a lithium-ion battery of passenger’s laptop caused fire. The incident refueled the debates about the safety of flying with lithium-ion batteries.

The Airbus A321 carrying 158 passengers and crew on board, landed safely at Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids around 8 p.m. local time.

According to official statement issued by the airline, the decision to divert was made after “reports of smoke emitting from a carry-on bag holding a laptop computer.” However, the fire onboard the aircraft had been extinguished by the time the plane landed.”The flight landed safely, and the aircraft was inspected by maintenance crews before customers continued on to San Francisco.

The FAA confirmed in a statement that it was a laptop battery but did not specify any brand or model. However, No one on the plane was injured, and the flight eventually continued on to San Francisco.

The security risks regarding lithium-ion batteries became subject of debate last year when several  Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices caught fire, including the one in an airplane. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned the device from all US flights. The ban had been expanded to every flight later after all airlines announced it.

Concerns about lithium ion batteries catching fire in-flight have been accentuated recently, as the US government reportedly considering a ban on laptops on international flights.

Presence of lithium ion batteries in an airplane is now considered to be an ultimate security threat, whether it is in the cabin or in cargo compartment.

Why these batteries are so dangerous?

The answer lies on the root of their efficient nature. They compact a lot of power. Once they short-circuit, they can heat up and create a chain reaction known as “thermal runaway,” a cascading impact in which they achieve high temperatures and emit gasses that can fuel a fire or trigger an explosion, particularly in the case if they’re pressed firmly with other lithium batteries.

 

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