A fire broke out in the cabin of a V Air passenger liner bound for Japan on Friday night after a portable battery in a passenger’s carry-on luggage spontaneously caught fire in the first incident of its kind affecting a Taiwanese air carrier, the Aviation Safety Council (ASC) said yesterday.
“This was the first incident of a mobile device power source triggering a fire on a domestic airliner in flight,” council executive director Thomas Wang (王興中) said.
He said that between 1991 and last year there have been more than 170 incidents involving lithium battery explosions on commercial aircraft worldwide, but this was the first case involving a Taiwanese air carrier.
Photo: Copy by Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
“The council plans to investigate the case,” he said.
The device in question was a lithium battery made in China, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said, adding that it was not immediately clear what type of electronic device it was used to power.
Wang said that the battery did not catch fire because it was on an aircraft in flight, and it would have caught fire even if it had not been brought onto the plane.
There have been discussions on whether mobile power sources should be allowed on airplanes, he said, but cell phones also have lithium batteries and “the possibility of banning them is not high.”
Current practice among the world’s airlines is that mobile power sources — as long as they are kept in carry-on luggage — can be brought aboard aircraft, he said.
Flight ZV252 took off from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport for Haneda Airport at 10:26pm on Friday.
The fire was put out shortly after it began, and the battery was placed in a bucket of water to ensure that it would not reignite.
All the aircraft’s 161 passengers and crew members were unharmed in the incident.
Due to safety concerns, the captain flew the aircraft back to Taoyuan airport.
The aircraft arrived at the airport at 11:21pm and was confirmed not to have been damaged. The budget air carrier, in consideration of the lingering smell of smoke, arranged for the passengers to take another flight, which left at 12:30am yesterday.
The airline said that the council had confirmed the safety of the aircraft before it was put back into service yesterday.
When the crew members return to Taiwan, they will be questioned so that officials can learn more about the fire, the council said.
Taiwan does not exclude the possibility of having formal diplomatic relations with countries that also have formal ties with China, regardless of Beijing’s stance, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Sunday. There was speculation in 2012 that Honduras was attempting to have simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China, an idea that then-minister of foreign affairs David Lin (林永樂) rejected. Honduras severed formal ties with Taiwan on Sunday morning after establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has taken a more practical approach to relations with like-minded countries since assuming government in 2016. Previous administrations took the
Seven senior faculty members, including the principal, of a high school in Taichung were temporarily suspended from their jobs on Friday, pending an investigation by the Taichung Education Bureau into alleged bullying and abuse that led to the suicide of a student last month. The city’s education officials were too slow to suspend those involved, the student’s father told a news conference on Wednesday, at which Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) and members of the Humanistic Education Foundation were also present. The boy had been a good student and a high achiever during elementary and junior-high, and had
Taiwan would have established formal relations with Argentina long ago if not for China’s interference, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui told US-based Spanish-language online news outlet Infobae in an interview published on Tuesday. Beijing has left behind a string of unfulfilled promises in Latin America, including pledges to build the Grand Nicaragua Canal and airports, docks, ports and industrial zones in El Salvador, he said. Meanwhile, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and other countries enjoy pragmatic and improving relations with Taiwan based on cooperation on the economy, culture, technology and science, he said. While Taiwan is “happy to live and let live,”
WASHED ASHORE: Of the 16 bodies discovered along Taiwan’s west coast this month, two were Vietnamese and five were Taiwanese, coast guard officials said Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he has instructed prosecutors and maritime authorities to launch investigations after 16 bodies were found along Taiwan’s west coast this month, amid speculation that they were victims of smuggling or human trafficking rings. Coast Guard Administration (CGA) officials said the bodies, most of which had washed ashore, were found by coast guard personnel and local residents along the coastline from Keelung to Kaohsiung. Thirteen of the bodies are male and three are female, the CGA said, adding that items found on the bodies indicate that two of the men were Vietnamese, while three men