BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – AMERICAN AIRLINES flight 1466 was delayed for several hours yesterday morning (Mar. 22) at the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport due to fire onboard.
According to information reaching this media house, the flight was scheduled to depart the airport for Miami at 8:30 a.m. but, while waiting to board, passengers reported that they saw a unit from the Fire and Rescue Services heading towards the aircraft half an hour earlier.
Not only was that unit reportedly seen, but also members of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force’s Bomb Squad.
Reports also indicated that staff members of the airlines had informed the passengers that the flight would be delayed because a piece of luggage in the baggage compartment was on fire.
An extinguisher was however used to put out the fire and every piece of luggage was removed from the aircraft and searched by members of the Bomb Squad.
Some three hours later, the pilot had reported that the fire was caused by the charging device of an e-cigarette in one of the bags.
Consequently, every piece of luggage was double checked and an all-clear was given. However, passengers were told that they would have had to await the arrival of personnel from Puerto Rico to clean the affected area and to determine if the aircraft was safe to fly or if the flight would have been cancelled.
The flight however departed St. Kitts for Miami later that afternoon.
Information reaching this publication stated that in early 2016 both the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and the United States Transportation Department had banned passengers and crew from carrying e-cigarettes and their charging devices in their checked baggage.
It also stated that due to the fire risk these carry, e-cigarettes are not allowed in checked baggage and that CATSA requires electronic cigarettes on flights to be stored in passengers’ carry-on baggage.
According to the CATSA website, e-cigarettes “do not need to be removed from cases or bags in order to be screened”.