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Fire aboard New Jersey-bound airliner forces emergency landing in San Diego

San Diego International Airport sign on Harbor Drive on Aug. 12, 2019
Erik Anderson
San Diego International Airport sign on Harbor Drive on Aug. 12, 2019

A laptop battery pack caught fire in the cabin of a jetliner Tuesday on a flight from San Diego to New Jersey, forcing the plane to promptly double back to the bayside airport and leaving a half-dozen people with complaints of smoke inhalation.

United Airlines Flight 2664 left San Diego International Airport just after 7 a.m. Tuesday and returned about a half-hour later, the Federal Aviation Administration reported.

The flight crew was able to prevent the blaze from spreading by putting the burning electronic device into a fire-safe bag, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.


After the Boeing 737 made a safe emergency landing in San Diego, paramedics evaluated six people who reported respiratory issues due to smoke from the fire, the city agency reported. Four were taken to medical centers for further examination and treatment, while the other two declined hospital checkups.

FAA personnel will investigate the mishap, according to the federal agency.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.