Batteries not linked to Dreamliner jet fire


LONDON: Investigators said there was no evidence to suggest that a fire onboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner parked at London Heathrow Airport was caused by the next-generation jet’s batteries.

A team from Britain’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) was deployed following the blaze on Friday on an Ethiopian Airlines plane, which was empty at the time.

The fire is a further blow for the jet, after Boeing temporarily withdrew all Dreamliners from service earlier this year because of concerns that batteries on board could cause fires.

However, the latest incident was not down to the batteries, said the AAIB, an agency of Britain’s Department of Transport ministry.

Following Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) first stage of its probe, the AAIB found there was “no evidence of a direct causal relationship” between the batteries and the incident at Heathrow.

“The aircraft is currently located in a hangar at London Heathrow,” it added.

“There has been extensive heat damage in the upper portion of the rear fuselage, a complex part of the aircraft, and the initial investigation is likely to take several days,” it said.

“It is clear that this heat damage is remote from the area in which the aircraft main and APU [Auxiliary Power Unit] batteries are located and at this stage there is no evidence of a direct causal relationship.”

Television pictures showed burn marks on the top of the plane near the back, just in front of the vertical stabilizer.

The United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration said it had also sent an official to Britain to gather facts for its own regulatory body, the US National Transportation Safety Board.

A spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines said it was investigating the incident but had no plans to ground its fleet of four 787 Dreamliners.



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