Power bank checks urged

Power bank checks urged

Industry Minister Pimphattra Wichaikul
Industry Minister Pimphattra Wichaikul

Industry Minister Pimphattra Wichaikul is concerned about the power bank explosion on a Thai AirAsia flight bound for Nakhon Si Thammarat on Saturday morning.

The minister was among 186 passengers on the flight and witnessed the incident. Smoke filled the cabin after a power bank exploded, though the crew were able to extinguish the fire within two minutes and the flight landed safely as scheduled.

“I am concerned for passengers because almost everyone carries a power bank on board. I would like to call on airlines and airport officials to check the power banks that passengers bring on board. They must have the Industrial Standards symbol (TIS) to ensure heat resistance,” she said.

The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation will investigate the incident.

Airports of Thailand president Kerati Kijmanawat said on Monday that power banks could explode if they were substandard. Passengers were allowed to carry aboard power banks of no more than 30,000 milliamps capacity.

Passengers were prohibited from storing loaded power banks in luggage carried in the cargo area because there were no flight attendants on duty there, he said.

However, airport authorities could not stop travellers carrying power banks on board planes because of the inconvenience it would cause, Mr Kerati said.

Assoc Prof Jessada Denduangboripant wrote on Facebook that a power bank could explode if its seal broke and oxygen made contact with the lithium. THis would would lead to oxidation, extreme heat and an explosion.

However this was very rare, about one in a million, he said.

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