Cabin crew prevents mid-air disaster on Sri Lanka-bound plane

GERMAN PRESS AGENCY - DPA
COLOMBO
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The cabin crew of a Sri Lankan-bound flight averted a possible mid-air disaster after the ignition of a mobile phone battery pack, airline officials said on Monday.

The incident occurred on Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL 166 from Kochi in India to Colombo with 202 passengers onboard midway through the trip on Sunday, an official from the airline said.

"The cabin crew had observed smoke from an overhead luggage bin on the flight and on inspection found that the ignition of a lithium battery pack had sparked off the smoke," the official said.

The crew members had carried away the bag and found that the intensity of the smoke was increasing, but they were able to follow the lithium fire-extinguishing procedure and control the situation, he said.

The country's main airport - Bandaranaike International Airport, at Katunayake, 23 kilometres north of the capital - was put on alert over the incident.

The owner of the baggage was found to be an Indian passenger.

An investigation has been launched by the airline.

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