Power bank catches fire on Scoot plane before takeoff from Taiwan to S'pore, 2 suffer minor burns

There were 186 adults and an infant on the aircraft.

Zhangxin Zheng | January 11, 2023, 01:52 AM

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Passengers on board Scoot flight TR993, departing from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Singapore's Changi Airport, were shocked to see smoke in the cabin before takeoff on Jan. 10 night.

The aircraft was supposed to depart at 7:31pm, but a passenger's power bank apparently caught fire while the plane was on the runway.

The incident was reported by various Taiwanese media on the same night.

A photo shared online by a passenger aboard showed the cabin engulfed in smoke.

Photo via Wang Hao-yu's Facebook.

Taiwanese politician Wang Hao-yu was one of the passengers on TR993.

At around 8:43pm, he updated on Facebook that the passengers were safe and the smoke situation was under control.

Witness' account

A passenger, who only wished to be known as Ms Tan, said the cabin crew were caught off guard by the situation.

Ms Tan told Mothership that she was seated at the back of the plane when the incident happened somewhere in the middle.

The aircraft was already travelling on the runway and the cabin lights were dimmed.

The lights came back on within the cabin and she observed some commotion without knowing what had happened.

Video via Wang Hao-yu's Facebook comment section.

The cabin crew did not appear to be familiar with where the fire extinguisher was, she said.

The fire was eventually put out by an air stewardess named Fareesa Elda.

"This is the good stewardess. Steady. Calm and she reacted promptly," Ms Tan told Mothership.

Fareesa was also able to provide assurance to Ms Tan's mother, who was having a panic attack after what happened, the passenger revealed.

She said the co-pilot had wanted to continue with the flight after the fire was put out as the aircraft was deemed to be structurally unaffected by the fire.

However, she felt that such a decision lacked empathy towards passengers who might not feel comfortable flying after witnessing what had happened.

"It's very dangerous. Why [did he] have to insist on flying even if the fire did not cause any structural damage? How [was he] going to be responsible for all our lives?" Ms Tan said.

"This is also very dangerous for the cabin crew."

Image courtesy of Ms Tan.

Photo courtesy of Ms Tan.

The plane eventually returned to the airport.

Ms Tan said she spoke to the owner of the power bank and was told that the device was used for "many years".

However, the power bank user did not know why it "exploded" suddenly.

Two passengers suffered minor burns to their fingers

In response to Mothership's queries, a Scoot spokesperson confirmed that flight TR993, operating from Taipei to Singapore on Jan. 10, 2023, returned to the gate safely after "a rechargeable power bank belonging to customer overheated while the aircraft was on the ground".

There were 186 adults and an infant on the aircraft.

Medical assistance were rendered to the owner of the power bank and his companion, who sustained minor burns to their fingers.

"We are rescheduling the flight and will provide affected passengers with accommodation and meals," the spokesperson added.

Bottled water and light refreshments were given to passengers after they alighted from the aircraft.

Video courtesy of Ms Tan.

Investigations are underway

Scoot apologised for the incident and said the safety of its customers and crew is their top priority.

Investigations into the incident are underway.

10 passengers chose not to take the aircraft and were making arrangements with Scoot, Ms Tan said.

One of the options given was a refund for the return flight, Mothership understands from Ms Tan.

According to Scoot's latest flight status update, flight TR993  is scheduled to depart at 7:35pm on Jan. 11 instead.

Here's another passenger's account:

Top image via Wang Hao-yu's Facebook and courtesy of Ms Tan.