FAA Issues Warning about Lithium Ion Batteries
Lithium ion batteries are so dangerous that they could potentially bring down an airplane, according to a warning issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). According to an ABC news report, the FAA conducted a series of tests, which they say show that transporting these batteries as cargo carries the risk of “a catastrophic hull loss.” Lithium-ion battery fires could lead to a catastrophic explosion, which fire suppression systems in an aircraft are not capable of preventing, the FAA said in an alert.
Danger of Catastrophic Fires
Such fires brought down Boeing 747s in Dubai and South Korea in 2010 and 2011, killing all crew members. No passengers were on board in those flights. Then, a series of battery fires in the batteries of Boeing 787s prompted the FAA to ground the entire Dreamliner fleet in 2013. Last year, a smoking lithium ion battery in a flight attendant’s credit card reader prompted an emergency landing in Buffalo.
The FAA is urging all airlines to conduct safety assessments and reevaluate their protocols concerning lithium-ion batteries. A majority of commercial passenger airlines voluntarily prohibit rechargeable lithium ion batteries. Also, last month, a United Nations panel recommended banning rechargeable lithium battery cargo from all jets. However, a recent FAA funding bill failed to ban shipping such batteries by air.
Recent Fires and Explosions
Our Orange County personal injury lawyers have been looking into fires and explosions that have occurred as a result of defective lithium ion batteries in electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes and hoverboards. There have been reports of people suffering major burn injuries, lacerations and even broken bones as a result of these defective batteries. One man in Florida was put in a coma because of an e-cigarette that exploded right in his face.
The lithium ion batteries that are commonly used in laptops and cellphones are considered much safer because the manufacturing standards for those batteries are much higher. However, when it comes to e-cigarettes and hoverboards, the batteries come from other countries like China where regulations and standards are scarce.
This recent study by the FAA is indeed deeply disturbing. We hope there is more research done into how and why these fires occur and if there is a better way to protect aircraft against these potentially catastrophic threats.