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They Were Flying From NY to London. Then, Smoke

Fire on Virgin Atlantic flight may have been caused by phone charger
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2019 6:57 AM CDT
In this Aug. 23, 2015, file photo, a Virgin Atlantic plane is seen on its way to Los Angeles International Airport.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

(Newser) – Passengers had just settled in for the flight over the ocean from New York to London when they found out they were touching down on the wrong side of the Atlantic: in Boston. The BBC and AP report the Virgin Atlantic plane bound for Heathrow out of JFK was forced to make an emergency landing at Logan International Thursday evening after a fire broke out in the cabin, with the airline noting in a statement that the change of plans was "due to reports of smoke" on board. All 217 passengers on Flight 138 were evacuated, with no significant injuries reported. "Our crew responded immediately and the plane has landed safely," the airline said.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. A police rep told reporters that a device found between the cushions on one seat suggested the blaze may have been started by something belonging to a passenger. "Preliminary investigation suggests it is a battery pack consistent in appearance with an external phone charger," the spokesman said. But one passenger tells CNN a flight attendant told him it started in a TV unit in first class, "not even 30 minutes" into the flight, and Massachusetts State Police noted they were looking at an electrical malfunction in one of the seats as one possible cause. It was Logan's second emergency landing of the day, after an American Airlines flight touched down without incident due to an "unspecified potential mechanical problem," per the AP. (Read more emergency landing stories.)

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