Passenger praises 'well-trained' Scoot cabin crew for handling power bank fire on plane

Another perspective.

Zhangxin Zheng | January 11, 2023, 04:30 PM

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A passenger's power bank caught fire while the Scoot plane was about to take off from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Jan. 10 night.

Online footage showed that the plane was filled with smoke, and the unexpected situation had caused some commotion in the cabin.

A passenger, known as Ms Tan, who was seated at the back of the plane, was not exactly satisfied with the cabin crew's response, claiming that the cabin crew appeared to be unsure of where the fire extinguisher was.

Ms Tan also said she was told by the co-pilot in-person that they would continue with the flight as the aircraft structure was not affected by the incident.

However, another passenger who was seated a few rows away from where the power bank ignited had a different take, and praised the cabin crew for being professional at handling the incident.

Another witness account by a passenger seated nearer to the incident

The passenger named Ming Han shared with Mothership that the cabin crew went to check on the situation after noticing smoke and a commotion.

However, their response was impeded by passengers who were crowding the aisle, according to Ming Han.

As such, the crew members' view and access were blocked by these passengers at the aisle and they had difficulty assessing the situation initially.

"The cabin crew immediately went to retrieve the extinguishers. However, they had difficulties getting to the fire, as there were other passengers blocking their way on the aisle, and some passengers had to shout and ask them to clear the way for the cabin crew to reach the seat and fight the fire," Ming Han described.

Ming Han said that the cabin crew were "well trained" and they knew where the fire extinguishers were, in contrast to what Ms Tan described.

While Ming Han was not sure about the exact amount of time it took to extinguish the fire, he said that the pilot did make an announcement that they would be heading back to the gate.

After the plane headed back to the gate, the plane was checked and passengers were provided options to continue flying or disembark.

An airport engineer also boarded the plane and conducted checks within an hour from their departure time, which was around 8:19pm.

By 9pm, the passengers were updated about the plane checks and were told to choose to continue or disembark, Ming Han recalled.

However, the flight was eventually cancelled as the Taiwan Transportation Security Board wanted to investigate the situation further. All passengers disembarked at around 10:17pm.

Thankful for the cabin crew's professionalism

"The cabin crew did what they could within the short timing and answered our queries to the best of their ability and information. I recall the cabin crew providing water for us during the trip as we were waiting for the aircraft check to be conducted," Ming Han recalled. 

Similar to what Ms Tan observed, bottled drinks and light refreshments were given when passengers were waiting at the airport.

Ming Han was more empathetic towards the cabin crew and thanked them for being professional while handling the situation.

"I do understand that, as everything was happening so quickly, the cabin crew had their limitations due to the circumstances. There were impatient, panicky, and to put it bluntly, some entitled passengers on board during the situation. However I do thank [the cabin crew] and admire their professionalism in dealing with this situation," he added.

In Ms Tan's account, she also gave a shout out to an air stewardess, Fareesa Elda, for being calm and assuring.

Fareesa had helped to put out the fire with her co-workers and was particularly helpful at assuring Ms Tan's mother who was having a panic attack, Ms Tan told Mothership.

Scoot: Cabin crew trained to follow necessary protocols

In a statement to Mothership, Scoot said that all their pilots and cabin crew members are trained to follow the necessary protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of their customers and staff.

"When the incident occurred, our cabin crew worked swiftly to ensure the safety of all passengers on the flight. They were able to contain the situation with the aid of a fire extinguisher", the Scoot spokesperson shared.

In response to Ms Tan, Scoot said that the co-pilot did not announce that they would continue the flight without returning to the bay.

Scoot shared that following the incident, the aircraft returned to the bay where further checks were carried out on it.

Affected passengers were provided with medical attention, and/or provided with accommodation, meals and transportation subsequently.

All crew members are also trained and certified to address different types of incidents on board the aircraft such as how to handling fire extinguishers and doing pre-flight checks on safety equipment.

There is also mandatory refresher training to ensure staff members stay up to date on their safety knowledge and skills.

"We thank our pilots and cabin crew for their professionalism and care in responding to the incident," Scoot wrote in their statement.

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