The emergency services were heavily mobilized in the South-West part of Island, where more than 2/3 of the population live. A couple of days ago, a fire alarm was triggered in an airplane, shortly after take-off.
It’s actually the explosion of an electronic cigarette which was situated in luggage compartment that caused the fire alarm, as explained by Chief of Police Ólafur Kjartansson. The alarm went off around 7.40PM while the Wizz Air plane was above the Mýrdalsjökull glacier on the way towards Wrocklaw in Poland.
Great resources were deployed
The airplane was forced to turn around and bring its 147 passagers back to the Keflavick airport.
During that time, Islanders deployed major resources. Two helicopters, rescue unit teams (ICE-SAR). But Reykjavik firemen and all the emergency personnel available were also mobilized.
More fear than harm
When the plane lands, only 11 minutes have elapsed and the emergency response has actually been amazing. Fortunately enough, there was more fear than harm caused. After questionning the passengers, the Chief of Police learned that the explosion did not cause the alarm to go off. Indeed, the owner of the vaping device put it in the lavatory washbasin after it exploded in his carry-on bagage. And this is when the alarm went off.
Nobody was injured and the passengers spent the night in near-by hotels.
We do not have any more information as to why the e-cigarette exploded.
But it’s always safer to store your batteries separately when you board a plane. Use protection cases for instance, this will prevent any risk.
This is the second case this month that led to major emergency response. The first battery explosion took place in the London subway and led to the evacuation of the station.
If you want to read more about batteries and safety advice, we’ve already talked about the subject in this article, or in that one.