Boeing Battery-Fire Probe Gets Tricky

Two investigations go in different directions

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 21, 2013 7:20 PM CST

(Newser) – Looks like Boeing has a bigger headache than it expected, the Wall Street Journal reports. The National Transportation Safety Board released a statement yesterday saying that the first 787-airliner fire this month was caused by a battery that "did not exceed its designed voltage"—while Japanese investigators looking at a second lithium-ion mishap say the battery may have been overcharged. So Boeing, its fleet grounded for five days now, is watching the investigation grow in different directions.

The safety board said it is looking inside the battery from the Japan Airlines flight in Boston on Jan. 7. Scans of the battery may show whether a manufacturing flaw or internal defect caused the battery to overheat, but they're also considering external factors like wiring and circuit boards. Seems like the NTSB is making an extra effort, updating its statement after midnight on day three of a four-day holiday, and sending Boeing parts from the burned plane to help them work on possible safeguards.

A 787 jet painted in a Delta livery is seen Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, at Paine Field in Everett, Wash.
A 787 jet painted in a Delta livery is seen Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, at Paine Field in Everett, Wash.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
FILE -In this Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, file photo, a Boeing 787 operated by All Nippon Airways taxis under a rainbow created by fire trucks at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, in Seattle. Boeing said its net income this year will be bigger than it had expected as deliveries of commercial airplanes...
FILE -In this Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, file photo, a Boeing 787 operated by All Nippon Airways taxis under a rainbow created by fire trucks at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, in Seattle. Boeing said...   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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