A Spirit Airlines plane is forced to make an emergency landing after a battery fire breaks out in an overhead bin.
It was looking pretty scary for a while, but Joseph Fleck and his family finally made it to Walt Disney World
He described the harrowing experience that he had his fellow passengers endured in a series of tweets, noting that “our lives flashed before our eyes.”
The Airbus A320 had departed from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and was headed to Orlando International Airport when it was diverted and landed safely in Jacksonville, Florida, CNN reported.
Ten people were removed from the flight by emergency services after landing, according to Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department Captain Eric Prosswimmer.
The fire department transported “both passengers and crew members,” all with non-life-threatening conditions.
The battery fire was believed to have been caused by a guest item in an overhead bin, a Spirit Airlines spokesperson said. The fire was extinguished inflight.
‘A Scary Fire Broke Out’
“We are safe after a scary fire broke out during our @SpiritAirlines flight,” Fleck tweeted along with a video of the smoke-filled cabin. “We made a quick decent and emergency landing into Jacksonville.”
The battery fire was believed to have been caused by a guest item in an overhead bin, according to a Spirit Airlines spokesperson. The fire was extinguished inflight.
“The plane landed at JAX and taxied to the terminal without incident,” the airline said. “We thank our crew and Guests for their quick actions to ensure the safety of everyone onboard, and we thank first responders for meeting the aircraft.”
Fleck tweeted that “170+ passengers coughing up toxic fumes from a battery fire and not letting us evacuate the plane immediately is why 1 person was rushed to the hospital. I’m still coughing.”
“Charging a vape in a small confined space in an airplane at 350000 feet is one of the dumbest things anyone can do,” Fleck tweeted. “This happened all too often. This could have easily been so much worse. We had God and a retired NYFD firefighter with us to be our hero”
“This was no fault of Spirit, they handled things with great respect,” he said. “I only wish we had been able to evacuate the plane once we landed.”
‘Our Lives Flashed Before Our Eyes’
Fleck later tweeted video of his family driving into Disneyland.
“#greatful our lives flashed before our eyes for a few seconds yesterday,” he said.
“We made it!” he said in a follow-up tweet and posted a photo of the famous theme park.
Lithium-Ion batteries are rechargeable and are used in vaping devices, many personal electronics such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops, E-Bikes, electric toothbrushes, tools, hoverboards, scooters, and for solar power backup storage.
Unlike alkaline, lithium batteries are capable of giving off a strong energy surge after a long period of low discharge.
Under FAA rules, passengers can take backup or spare lithium-ion batteries, intended for their own use, on flights, but the batteries can’t be in checked baggage.
They must be kept in carry-on bags, and their terminals must be taped over, protected by packaging or otherwise covered. Large batteries are limited to two per passenger.
The FAA reported 406 lithium battery fires between 2006 and 2022, and 49 in the last year alone, according to the aviation news website Simple Flying..
Last month, a battery pack caught fire in the cabin of a New Jersey-bound United Airlines (UAL) – Get Free Report flight from California, forcing the plane to return to San Diego International Airport shortly after takeoff,
Four people were taken to a hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. The airline said a customer’s battery pack had ignited.