A Turkish airliner made an emergency landing Tuesday after a vape mod caught fire in the cargo hold. No passengers were injured.
The Pegasus Airlines flight from Istanbul to Paris was diverted to an airport in Zagreb, Croatia after a smoke alarm went off in the cargo hold, according to Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah. Pegasus is a low-cost Turkish airline, based in Istanbul.
Pegasus flight 1135 — a Boeing 737-800 — was about halfway through the planned flight when the pilots became aware of the smoke alarms, travel site The Points Guy reported. Daily Sabah said the airline denied that the landing was caused by engine failure.
According to The Points Guy, the emergency was caused when an e-cigarette’s battery “burst into flames” in checked luggage. Turkish Air News reported that no intervention from firefighters was needed.
Most vape battery fires and explosions are relatively easy to put out, but a fire in an enclosed space with other flammable materials (like hairspray, cologne and liquor) could be catastrophic. And since the cargo area is unsupervised, the only solution when the fire alarm goes off is to land the plane.
Airlines usually require vapes be carried with the passenger in the cabin, to avoid battery accidents in the cargo hold. Like most airlines, Pegasus prohibits lithium batteries — and electronic devices that use them — in checked luggage. Pegasus doesn’t have a policy specific to vaping products, like some airlines.