Personal Injury

Suspected Cargo Fire Forces Air Transat Emergency Landing

cargo hold airplane Wikimedia Commons 280x210 Suspected Cargo Fire Forces Air Transat Emergency LandingAn Air Transat flight from Montreal, Canada, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, made an emergency landing at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport because of a possible fire in the airplane’s cargo hold.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that firefighters met Air Transat Flight 942 on the runway and passengers were evacuated by emergency slides after the plane diverted to Newark Saturday morning around 8:30.

Some of the 189 passengers and six crew members aboard the Boeing 737 suffered minor injuries, according to the Associated Press, but none of those were related to smoke inhalation. One passenger was taken to the hospital for observation.

Newark Liberty closed its runways to accommodate what the airport said was an “airport emergency,” but officials resumed flights after investigators deemed the aircraft safe. Air Transat sent a replacement plane to Newark to fly the passengers to Fort Lauderdale.

Air Transat is a Montreal-based leisure airline providing flights to destinations in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Investigators found no fire in the cargo hold and the source of the smoke remains under investigation. Fires aboard aircraft, both in the cabin and the cargo hold, are an increasing concern to airlines and travelers because of the proliferation of lithium-ion batteries that charge most consumer electronics these days.

In February, U.S. authorities addressed the threat lithium-ion batteries pose to commercial aircraft by passing a resolution barring lithium-ion batteries as cargo in the hold of passenger airplanes. The new rule also sets restrictions for the transport of lithium-ion batteries on cargo planes, prohibiting any lithium-ion cells and batteries from carrying more than a 30 percent charge.