TAP A320 at Frankfurt on Aug 21st 2018, LiOn thermal runaway

Last Update: March 12, 2020 / 18:04:35 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Aug 21, 2018

Classification
Incident

Flight number
TP-574

Aircraft Registration
CS-TNH

Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator
A320

A TAP Portugal Airbus A320-200, registration CS-TNH performing flight TP-574 from Lisbon (Portugal) to Frankfurt/Main (Germany) with 171 passengers and 6 crew, was on final ILS approach to Frankfurt's runway 07L about 6nm before touchdown when a passenger spotted smoke emanating from her carry on luggage, identified a battery charger as source of the smoke and attemtped to remove the charger from the luggage, due to the intense heat she could not take the charger out and instead received burns to her hand. The purser also noticed the smoke and discharged a Halon fire extinguisher, then cooled the battery in water and secured the device and battery in a secure container in the aft lavatory. After landing the purser informed the flight crew, who in turn notified tower and requested medical services to attend to the aircraft. Fire services did not find any smoke, heat or fire anymore.

Germany's BFU reported the aircraft did not sustained any damage, the passenger received minor injuries to her hand, which were treated by a doctor at the airport. Fire services collected the device and battery and handed them to the BFU. The occurrence was rated a serious incident, an investigation was opened.

The BFU reported the chargeable battery had a capacity of 2200mAh at 3.7V, a thermal runaway occured inside the battery.

On Mar 12th 2020 the BFU released their final report concluding the probable cause of the serious incident was:

A so-called thermal runaway of the lithium battery was identified as the cause of the heat development.

The BFU reported the aircraft was at 2200 feet MSL about 6nm short of runway 07L and detailed the sequence of events:

Shortly before landing, approximately 6 NM prior to runway 07L, a passenger noticed smoke development of a battery charger in her carry-on luggage. She tried to remove the battery charger. Due to the great heat this was not possible. The cabin crew noticed the smoke also. The flight attendant applied the fire protection procedure using a Halon fire extinguisher. Then she cooled the charger with water and stored the carry-on in a trash can in the aft left lavatory.

The flight attendant informed the cockpit crew about the incident after the landing at the parking position. Subsequently, the cockpit crew informed the Tower and requested the airport fire brigade and medical care. A short time later, an airport fire fighter boarded the airplane but did not find any fire or smoke. The airplane was not damaged. The airport fire brigade sized the carry-on luggage, including the battery charger, and turned it over to the BFU.

The passenger suffered minor injury on her hand and was treated on site by a physician.

The BFU stated there was no open fire, great heat and smoke developed and wrote: "The defective battery charger was examined at the BFU laboratory. It was an accumulator with a capacity of 2,200 mAh / 8.1 Wh and a voltage of 3.7 V. It was approximately 10 cm long and had a diameter of about 2 cm. "

The BFU reiterated the recommendations and regulations by ICAO and EASA of 2016 and 2017 with respect to mitigating risks through thermal runaways requiring such batteries to be carried as carry on items and not to be checked in (editorial note: the graphics involved strongly reminded the editor of background materials received - without permission to publish then so that we were able to just summarize the materials in our coverage - in the partly heated debate about the US and UK requirement of 2017 to check such items in, see News: USA und UK require electronic devices larger than smartphones to be checked in from certain countries/airports).

The report also quotes the ICAO recommendations of how such thermal runaways should be handled by cabin crew.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Aug 21, 2018

Classification
Incident

Flight number
TP-574

Aircraft Registration
CS-TNH

Aircraft Type
Airbus A320

ICAO Type Designator
A320

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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