Fire on Virgin Atlantic flight forces emergency landing on way to London after phone charger ignites

Airline finds smouldering device between cushions of seat

Emma Snaith
Friday 05 July 2019 19:24 BST
A Virgin Atlantic A330 Airbus jet
A Virgin Atlantic A330 Airbus jet (Virgin Atlantic)

A phone charger is thought to have triggered a fire which forced a Virgin Atlantic flight headed to London to make an emergency landing.

Police explosives teams examined the Airbus A330 after it landed in Boston and found a device which had ignited between the cushions of a seat.

Massachusetts State Police said it is thought the device was an external phone charger but that its investigation was at an early stage.

All 217 passengers and crew were safely evacuated after landing along with the crew. One passenger refused treatment for a smoke-related complaint.

The flight left John F Kennedy airport at around 8pm on Thursday bound for Heathrow airport where it was due to arrive at around 7.20am.

The plane began to descend around 25 minutes after take-off and landed at Boston Logan International airport at 8.50pm, according to information from Flightaware.

Virgin Atlantic said it was “currently investigating” what led to smoke appearing in the cabin of Flight 138.

“The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we are currently investigating to fully understand the circumstances,” a company spokesperson said.

“We’d like to thank our customers for their patience as we work with them to provide local accommodation or to rebook alternative flights to their final destination.”

It was the second emergency landing at Boston’s Logan International airport on Thursday. Earlier, an American Airlines flight from Chicago declared an emergency as it approached the city but landed without incident.

The airline said the pilot of Flight 1172 called in an emergency when a cockpit light indicated an unspecified potential mechanical problem.

Additional reporting by agencies

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