China Southern Airlines flight delayed for 3 hours after power bank catches fire

GUANGZHOU: Passengers on a China Southern Airlines flight from Guangzhou to Shanghai on Sunday (Feb 25) had to disembark when a power bank caught fire in the overhead compartment. 

China Southern Airlines said in a statement on Chinese microblogging site Weibo that passengers were boarding flight CZ3539 when smoke and fire was seen coming from a passenger’s bag in the overhead bin. 

The fire was put out with the help of the fire and security departments, and did not cause further damage, the airline said in the post. 

The passenger who owned the bag was taken to assist the police in investigations, and preliminary investigations show that the power bank was not in use when it caught fire, the airline added. 

A replacement aircraft was deployed and it eventually left Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport for Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport at 2.53pm China time – almost three hours after the scheduled departure time, based on data from live flight tracking site FlightAware. 

Video of the incident posted on social media shows a flight attendant and a passenger dousing the fire with what appears to be bottles of water and juice. 

Lithium-ion batteries – used in personal mobility devices (PMDs) such as e-scooters, and electronic devices such as handphones, laptops and power banks – can pose fire risks and have been banned by the International Civil Aviation Organization as cargo on passenger aircraft. They are, however, usually allowed in hand-carry luggage within permissible limits