Aviation occurrence briefs

Smoke event involving Boeing B787-8, Bali International Airport, Indonesia on 28 March 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 28 March 2018, a Boeing 787-8 departed Melbourne, Victoria (Vic.) on a scheduled passenger flight to Bali, Indonesia. On arrival into Bali, while the aircraft was being unloaded, the ground crew noticed smoke emanating from the cargo hold and identified a burnt passenger bag as the potential source. The ground crew subsequently removed the bag from the aircraft. Following further inspection, it was found that a power bank[1] (Figure 1) contained within the passenger bag was the cause of the smoke.

Figure 1: Power bank removed from passenger bag

Figure 1: Power bank removed from passenger bag

Source: Operator

Safety message

Spare lithium and lithium-ion batteries can present a significant hazard when carried in the cargo hold of an aircraft. If a battery is damaged or overheats, it can result in a fire. Such fires require the device or battery to be cooled with non-alcoholic liquids. Cabin crew and flight crew are specifically trained in the management of lithium battery smoke and fire incidents in the cabin. If a battery in the cargo hold catches fire, however, it might not be possible to extinguish the fire, with potentially catastrophic results.

Power packs and power banks are classified as spare lithium-ion batteries, therefore only permitted in a passenger’s carry-on baggage. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) provides guidance on their “Travelling safely with batteries and portable power packs” webpage and via the ‘Can I pack that? dangerous goods app for passengers.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.



  1. A power bank is a portable device that can supply power to another device through a USB port.
General details
Date: 28 March 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1401 UTC    
Location   (show map): Bali International Airport, Indonesia    
State: International    
Release Date: 22 June 2018   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 787-8  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Last update 12 December 2018