Battery fire on transcontinental flight from San Diego to Newark forces plane ... trends now
A United Airlines flight bound for Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey was forced to return to San Diego International Airport on Tuesday morning after a fire broke out in the cabin, caused by a passenger's laptop battery igniting.
Four flight attendants working in the cabin of the Boeing 737 on United 2664 prevented the blaze from spreading further as they put out the flames with on-board fire extinguishers.
Their heroics led to them breathing in smoke as they put out the fire. The four were taken to hospital for treatment following the emergency landing.
It is not clear what caused the battery to ignite just after the flight, with 159 passengers, took off at 7:15am. 11 minutes later, the plane was back on the ground.
A United Airlines flight bound for Newark had to return to San Diego due to a cabin fire caused by an external battery. Fire engines could be seen parked at the side of the aircraft
The fire was contained by the flight crew but saw the four flight attendants taken to hospital after breathing in smoke. Pictured, ambulances can be seen on site on Tuesday morning
Emergency services raced to the scene following a fire onboard a flight from San Diego
The situation would have been all the more perilous had the battery pack been within checked baggage and not in the main cabin.
'Shortly after departure, the aircraft declared an Alert 2 which indicates a major difficulty with the aircraft, in this case there was an electrical device fire in the cabin.
'The aircraft landed safely at San Diego International Airport where emergency crews responded to the aircraft and assisted passengers,' a statement from San Diego Airport read.
A passenger on board the flight, Caroline Lipinski, saw everything happen from her seat.
'There was a gentleman whose bag was smoking and he threw something out on the ground. It was a battery charger or a pack from his laptop and it burst into flames.'
'There was a gentleman whose bag was smoking and he threw something out on the ground. It was a battery charger or a pack from his laptop and it burst into flames,' said Caroline Lipinski
'Some were gasping, screaming. The guy next to me ran to the back of the plane. The flight attendants were grabbing fire extinguishers and running to the front,' Stephan Jones said
'I heard somebody yell “fire” I looked forward and could see the glow,' said another traveller
The flight was back on the ground 11 minutes after taking off from San Diego as fire broke out
'I heard somebody yell “fire” I looked forward and could see the glow,' said another traveller.
Fellow passenger Stephan Jones said people immediately panicked.
'Some were gasping, screaming. The guy next to me ran to the back of the plane. The flight attendants were grabbing fire extinguishers and running to the front,' he told CBS News.
Since 2006 there have been 414 incidents of lithium batteries catching fire or overheating - 49 involving laptops.
The scare is just the latest in a series of terrifying scare affecting planes in recent weeks.
The tip of the Orlando-bound aircraft's wing was torn off by the collision at Newark Liberty International Airport
On Friday, two