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Powerbank starts fire aboard Lufthansa plane

A travel battery triggered a small fire aboard transatlantic flight after slipping under one of the passenger seats, Germany's flagship carrier Lufthansa said. The plane managed to complete its journey to Houston.

The crewmembers abroad Lufthansa's A380 jumbo jet quickly noticed the blaze and extinguished it, the company said on Tuesday, after reports surfaced of an incident last week.

According to the airline, the plane was flying from Frankfurt to the US city of Houston with 386 passengers and 24 cabin crew on board. The attendants used fire extinguishers to put out the flames, according to a passenger cited by the Aviation Herald. The outlet also reported that the incident took place while the plane was nearing Montreal, some four hours before it landed in Houston.

Read more: Baby on board - Lufthansa lands with extra passenger

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Lufthansa confirmed that the fire was caused by a so-called powerbank, a small transportable battery used to charge cell phones and similar devices. The battery apparently slipped under a business class seat and became stuck.

The company routinely warns passengers to keep their electronic devices from getting trapped in seats or tables.

A spokesman for the airline said that power banks were "a safety hazard," but added that Lufthansa would not be changing its policy on such devices. He also warned that travel batteries should be kept out of the cargo hold, where it is far less likely to be noticed. No details on the device's brand or make were immediately available, and the company said that the fire was an exception.

Last year, numerous Samsung customers reported batteries catching fire in their Galaxy S7 cell phones, prompting some carriers to ban them from their planes.

Read more: Galaxy Note 7 phones will be banned from aircraft in the US

dj/msh (AP, dpa)

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