Battery/Charger In Luggage Explodes at Chicago’s Midway Airport (But Not How You’d Think)

Here’s another reason why you want to keep batteries and chargers in your carry on bags.

For the past several years, airlines, following FAA regulations, have required that lithium-ion batteries – those that power smartphones, tablets, cameras, laptops and E-cigarettes, among other things – be stored in passengers’ carry on bags instead of check luggage.

The reason for this is that they can catch fire if they’re damaged or if the battery terminals are somehow short-circuited. Although a fire in the cabin is an absolute emergency and oftentimes cause for an emergency landing, a fire in the cargo section, where no one and nothing will see/smell/detect it for a longer amount of time,  could wind up being even more potentially deadly.

That being said, there’s another reason you don’t want to keep those batteries (or frankly, regular batteries. Or chargers) in your checked luggage…

The bomb squad had to be called to Midway International Airport (MDW) not long ago, because a bag containing a camera battery exploded, causing a popping noise and smoke.

The bag containing the equipment was in the checked luggage of a passenger who was bound for Leon, Mexico on a Volaris flight. However, the explosion was not the passenger’s or even the battery’s fault.

It had been run over.

Police were called at MDW around 12:20pm after the bag had been reported to have “exploded” while being loaded onto a flight. According to Chicago police spokespeople:

[Following an investigation, it was discovered that] “…the bag was actually run over by a luggage vehicle and did not combust or explode on its own.”

“After review of video of the incident it was determined that the item of luggage fell off of the cart, became lodged in the wheel, and was dragged,” Sgt. Rocco Alioto said in an email statement. “There was no explosive device or explosion, the bag burst due to the pressure of it being run over.”

So not only do you have to worry about spontaneous combustion, but you also have to worry about airport staff running your bag over and making things in it explode.

Awesomesauce.

***Many thanks to Jonathan B. for the heads up about this topic!

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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