787 woes: 1 plane catches fire, 2nd turns back on tech issues - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

787 woes: 1 plane catches fire, 2nd turns back on tech issues

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The grounded Ethiopian Air plane fire crews responded to. (Source: Ramah Nyang/Twitter) The grounded Ethiopian Air plane fire crews responded to. (Source: Ramah Nyang/Twitter)

LONDON (WCIV/AP) -- A pair of Boeing 787s operated by different airlines were shut down in England on Friday.

Arrivals and departures out of London's Heathrow airport were temporarily suspended Friday while officials extinguished a fire aboard a Boeing 787 owned by Ethiopian Air.

A short time later, Thomson Airways says one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes traveling from England to the U.S. had to turn back after experiencing a technical issue.

Thomson said that flight 126 traveling from Manchester Airport to Sanford, Florida had returned to Manchester "as a precautionary measure."

It said all passengers had disembarked from the plane and engineers are inspecting the aircraft.

"The safety of our customers and crew is of paramount importance and we would like to apologize for the delay caused," a statement from the airline said.

London fire crews were called to the airport to assist Heathrow's fire department shortly after 4:30 p.m. local time. The city's fire crews left the airport about an hour later with everything under control and flights resuming.

Heathrow officials said in a tweet that there were no passengers on board the plane at the time of the fire. It has been parked at a remote stand away from the terminals, officials said.

London's Metropolitan Police said in an update that the cause of the fire has not been determined and is under investigation. There have not been any reports of injuries, officials said.

Pictures from Twitter users show the Dreamliner surrounded by fire trucks.

Boeing said on Twitter that company officials were aware of the fire and had personnel there to assess the situation.

The National Transportation Safety Board said an agency representative was being dispatched to Heathrow to investigate the fire.

"We're working to fully understand and address this," the company said in a tweet.

Mary Schiavo, the former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation, said Friday that burn patterns in the Ethiopian Air make it appear that this fire has nothing to do with the battery woes the 787s dealt with earlier this year.

She said it looked like the fire may have originated in the galley, based on video footage of the fire.

"However, if it's something that stems from the battery, most likely the FAA will be reconsidering its decision," Schiavo said.

Boeing's stocks tumbled as news of the fire spread across the globe, dropping more than five percent in the first hour of reporting.

Citi analyst Jason Gursky said the cause of the fire may not be known until later Friday or over the weekend. So, the ultimate outcome for Boeing's stock might wait until Monday. He said a fire related to the plane's electrical system, even if it is not tied to the lithium-ion battery, would be a concern for investors.

"If the fire is related to a burned coffee pot or a mistake in the crew rest area.the stock should recover quickly to $106-$107," Gursky wrote in a note to clients.

It is unclear if the fire was related to the aircraft's batteries, which sparked problems earlier this year.

Fifty Dreamliners worldwide were grounded in January because of battery malfunctions. Boeing later modified the jets with new batteries.

In April, an Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner made the first commercial flight since the grounding.

 

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