Overheating mobile phone causes emergency landing at Shannon Airport

13 Sep 2010

A plane was grounded at Shannon Airport on Friday after an overheated mobile caused emergency on the transatlantic flight.

A passenger had plugged in his phone to charge it and had not realised it was overheating.

The phone melted, emitting smoke into the passenger cabin and activated the fire alarm at a nearby toilet.

The American Airlines flight, which was carrying 167 passengers and had been travelling from Milan to New York, was 100km south-west of Ireland at this point.

At 12.15pm, the captain contacted air traffic controllers in order to get permission to divert to Shannon.

Cabin crew members tried to find the source of the smoke, but were unable to do so. The passenger who was charging his phone was unaware that it was his phone which caused the emergency.

The plane was cleared to land and crash tenders took strategic points across the runway. Shannon Airport’s fire and rescue services were gathered.

Local fire service units from Shannon town were sent to the airport while fire crews from Ennis were mobilised to a holding point at Dromoland between Ennis and Shannon in case they were needed.

Ambulances and advanced paramedic teams from Limerick and Ennis were also mobilised.

Once it touched down at 12.48pm, crash crews pursued the aircraft along the runaway until it came to a safe stop.

An inspection was undertaken, where it was discovered that the phone had caused the smoke.

After speaking with the passenger, it was made clear that it was a genuine error on his part and he was allowed to remain on board.

The flight was grounded for four hours and then cleared to continue on its journey.