Lithium-ion battery catches fire aboard flight to San Francisco
As reported by CNN, a JetBlue flight en route from New York to San Francisco was forced to make an emergency landing in Michigan due to an abrupt lithium battery fire in a passenger's carry-on backpack. The backpack was venting smoke before flight attendants transferred it to the nearest bathroom until the plane could be safely landed. When the smoke began to subside, it was discovered that the overheating battery burned a hole through the backpack. Fortunately, no one was harmed during the incident.
The faulty lithium-ion battery was a standard AA size battery not normally used for laptops or smartphones. Nonetheless, the incident will become yet another reason for the US government to extend its laptop ban across more inbound and outbound flights. Current carry-on regulations have a hard limit of 100 Wh for any single lithium-ion battery and so nearly all consumer notebooks have battery packs no larger than 99 Wh. Last year's Galaxy Note 7 kerfuffle and the recent laptop ban on flights originating from certain Middle Eastern and European countries, however, are now more likely to lead to additional restrictions on on-board electronics.