Passengers flying onboard China Southern Airlines were in for a frightening start to their trip on Sunday as a phone charger caught fire in a passenger's luggage stowed away in the overhead compartment.
Passengers were in the process of boarding a flight heading from Guangzhou to Shanghai, China, on Sunday when smoke was spotted inside the airplane's cabin, airline representative said in a statement posted on Chinese social media platform Weibo.
A video recorded by a passenger shows the bag engulfed in flames in the plane’s overhead compartment while a flight attendant and passenger can be seen trying to put out the fire.
Airline officials said in the statement that security and fire officials were called in and were able to put out the fire with no reported injuries to passengers. Fliers were required to deplane and take another flight about three hours later than originally scheduled.
Preliminary investigations point to a passenger's portable phone charger as the fire's cause. While lithium-ion batteries, often found in a variety of electronic devices that range from mobile phones and laptops, are often allowed on board airplanes when stowed away in carry-on baggage bags under certain restrictions, they can be a cause for fires on planes.
For this reason, several airlines have also started banning some smart luggage due to concerns about their batteries catching fire onboard.