A lithium ion camera battery inside the bag of a passenger caught fire and began smoking at Orlando International Airport on Friday. Passenger dropped the bag, and emergency responders moved it away from the passengers. When passengers heard the noise of the dropped bag and falling of the stanchions, all of them started moving rapidly as they mistook the sounds as gunfire.
The chaos and the pandemonium have caused delays in 24 flights.
Greater Orlando International Aviation Authority CEO Phil Brown said that the emergency staff tried to restore calm “but as everyone was aware, a few trying to communicate a message to this large of a mass was a daunting task.” Brown said there will be a complete review of the airport response.
In 2016 the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization temporarily banned cargo shipments of rechargeable lithium ion batteries over the risk of a bad battery causing a phenomenon known as “thermal runaway.” The decision, which is in effect until 2018, is not binding but the United States and most other countries comply with its standards.