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United flight returns to San Diego Airport, 4 hospitalized after fire onboard

Posted at 9:07 AM, Feb 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-08 13:46:34-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A United Airlines flight was forced to return to San Diego International Airport Tuesday morning after a fire was reported on the plane.

Airport officials said Flight 2664, which had taken off around 7:15 a.m. and was heading to Newark, rerouted back to the airport when a laptop external battery pack caught fire.

Some passengers told ABC 10News it was a normal takeoff until they started seeing smoke coming from the cabin.

“The guy next to me, two seats over, started to scream. The guy in first class said, ’Oh God,’ and put his shirt over his face. Then I saw a flash of fire. Then you see the flight attendants running back with fire extinguishers,” a passenger said.

The plane returned to the terminal at around 7:30 a.m., with San Diego Fire-Rescue crews at the scene to respond to the reported fire and examine all passengers and crew members.

San Diego Fire-Rescue officials said once crew members on the plane were alerted to the battery pack on fire, they placed the item in a special bag so the fire would not spread.

A passenger said, “I grabbed the stewardess and she told me it was someone’s battery, but I was grateful when I heard that because I knew that it wasn’t a systematic fault in the airplane.”

Four people from the plane were taken to the hospital, SDFD officials said.