Phone charger suspected cause of fire on Virgin Atlantic plane diverted to Boston

A plane carrying 217 passengers on July 4 was diverted following a fire aboard the plane — and a phone charger is the suspected cause.

The VS138 flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to London Heathrow diverted to Boston following reports of smoke in the cabin, Virgin Atlantic confirmed in a statement to USA TODAY. “Our crew responded immediately and the plane has landed safely in Boston.”

Flight crew members extinguished the fire that was coming from a passenger seat, according to the Massachusetts State Police. Wires were jutting out of the area where the fire was.

A plane carrying 217 passengers on July 4 made an emergency landing in Boston following a fire aboard the plane — and a phone charger is the suspected cause. (Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special for USA TODAY)

Police “located and examined a device located between the cushions of the seat that ignited,” according to a post on the state’s police blog. “Preliminary investigation suggests it is a battery pack consistent in appearance with an external phone charger.”  

Passengers were evacuated from the aircraft, and police are investigating the incident. One passenger denied the assistance of emergency medical services after a smoke-related complaint. 

Virgin Atlantic continued in its statement: “The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we are currently investigating to fully understand the circumstances. All our customers were offered overnight accommodation and onward travel today (July 5) . We’d like to thank our customers for their patience during this time.”

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