Aviation safety investigations & reports

Smoke event - SAAB 340B, VH-PRX, Sydney Airport, NSW, 25 November 2011

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Download Final report
[Download  PDF: 292KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 457KB]

On 25 November 2011, a Saab Aircraft Company S340B was being operated on a scheduled passenger service from Lismore to Sydney, New South Wales (NSW). During the taxi to the gate after arrival at Sydney, a cabin crew member noticed smoke coming from near a passenger seat and instructed the passenger to throw the source of the smoke into the aisle. The cabin crew member then discharged a fire extinguisher onto what was later identified as a mobile telephone. After several minutes, the smoke cleared.

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) investigator travelled to Sydney airport to commence an investigation into the event. The mobile telephone was transported to the ATSB technical facilities in Canberra for initial examination and then forwarded to the United States for detailed examination at a specialist facility.

The technical examinations found that a small metal screw had been misplaced in the battery bay of the mobile telephone; the screw puncturing the battery casing and causing an internal short circuit leading to heating and thermal runaway. It was probable that the screw had been misplaced during an earlier repair carried out on the telephone. That repair had not been conducted by an authorised service provider.

This investigation highlights the risks associated with the use of non-authorised agents for the repair of lithium battery-powered devices, and reinforces the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) recommendations that these devices should be carried in the cabin and not in checked-in baggage.

Download Final report
[Download  PDF: 292KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 457KB]
General details
Date: 25 November 2011   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: Sydney Airport   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 1042 ESuT    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Smoke  
Release date: 04 May 2012   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer S.A.A.B. Aircraft Co  
Aircraft model 340  
Aircraft registration VH-PRX  
Serial number 340B-303  
Operator Rex Airlines  
Type of operation Air Transport Low Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Lismore, NSW  
Destination Sydney, NSW  
Last update 03 April 2020