Cell phone fire ignites on Delta flight from Norfolk

(ABC News)
(ABC News)

NORFOLK, Va. (WRIC) — A panic occurred during a Delta flight from Norfolk, Virginia when a fire burst out in the cabin in mid-air Sunday.

Flight attendants scrambled to put the fire, caused by a cell phone battery. The plane was 20 minutes out on its way to Atlanta when the fire occurred.

Now Delta is working with the Feds to figure out what kind of battery it was and why it suddenly started smoldering.

“I was maybe three-quarters asleep and somebody started yelling fire,” Robin Sidersky, a Virginian Pilot Newspaper reporter who was on board the flight said.

Sidersky said she initially thought the plane’s engine was on fire.

One of Sidersky’s colleagues, Kerry Dougherty, who was also on the plane, described how flight attendants sprang into action.

“It was really impressive to watch the way they took command of that cabin, they herded people up front. There was no nonsense, Dougherty said. “They were very stern, move, get out of here, move up there and they got the fire put out. They were very reassuring.”

None of the 143 passengers on board got hurt and the plane landed safely in Atlanta.

A Delta spokesperson said that it was a cell phone battery that caused the fire.

“It quickly became evident that the source of the smoke was from a spare battery not affixed to a device. Delta is working to determine the source and type of the battery and will work with aviation safety officials,” the spokesperson said.

Friday’s mid-air fire happened less than 24 hours after cell-phone giant Samsung recalled a million Galaxy Note 7 phones after the Federal government issued a warning that the device’s lithium-ion batteries can cause fires.

While Delta has not yet said if that same phone battery sparked this fire, many people agree it was a terrifying experience.

Passenger Sarah Middleton said, “It’s terrifying. I crossed my mind this morning. I don’t want that to happen on my flight. I hope they check everyone’s phone.”

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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