Several airline passengers and cabin crew hospitalized from smoke inhalation when laptop battery caught fire mid air
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A United Airlines flight which left San Diego Tuesday morning made an emergency landing after an external battery pack caught fire on board the plane.
Video from the scene tweeted by reporter Neda Iranpour shows emergency vehicles surrounding the aircraft after it returned to gate. Four patients were transferred to the UCSD Hillcrest hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, while two more declined to be admitted, despite medical advice, according to Newsweek.
Information from the site FlightAware shows Flight UA2664 leaving from San Diego International Airport headed to Newark Liberty International Airport. The aircraft took off at 7:21 a.m. PST, and was forced to turn back when the fire started 20 minutes later.
Passengers tell CBS 8 the fire started in first class.
"We had just taken off and a few minutes into the flight I heard people yelling 'Smoke!... The cabin was completely flooded with smoke, '" she said to the local news site.
A retired police officer seated a few rows away said the carpet caught fire.
"Some were gasping, screaming," he said. "The guy next to me ran to the back of the plane. Flight attendants were grabbing fire extinguishers and running to the front."
According to the San Diego Fire Department, airline crews put the battery pack in a fireproof bag to prevent the fire from spreading to the rest of the plane. SDFD said the battery pack contained a lithium ion battery.
San Diego Fire Department confirmed that at least two passengers were taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation after United flight 2664 landed. The airline confirmed that several flight attendants were taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Photo Credit: Generic photo of a United Airlines jetliner. The aircraft on the photo is not the same as in the incident described in this article. Wikipedia Commons License.