MIAMI — A Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330-300 (G-VKSS), operating flight VS138 from New York (JFK) to London-Heathrow (LHR) on July 4, 2019, was forced to divert to Boston-Logan International Airport following reports of a fire on board.
According to the AvHerald, as the aircraft climbed through 28,000 en route to London, about 30nm west of Boston, the flight crew stopped the climb as a seat cushion lighted on fire.
Even though one passenger reported that the fire took “two minutes to extinguish”, the flight crew elected to divert to the nearest international airport.
While on approach to Boston, descending through 10,000 feet, the crew reported that the fire had been contained and extinguished.
Boston-Logan Airport sent all other arrivals into holding patterns as the emergency landing procedure took place.
The heavy A330-300 landed safely on the airport’s Runway 15R, about 18 minutes after its pilots stopped the climb and took the decision to divert to Boston.
Upon landing, the aircraft’s pilots asked the fire brigade to check on the overheated breaks, which did not burst any tires.
All passengers were kept on board the aircraft for at least one hour after landing. Local authorities indicated that the fire came from a First Class seat and that the device that lit the fire was a mobile phone battery bank.
A Boston police spokesperson told reporters that the “Preliminary investigation suggests it is a battery pack consistent in appearance with an external phone charger.”