French investigators are looking into whether an EgyptAir jet may have crashed into the Mediterranean Sea last May after lithium batteries on a pilot’s cell phone and tablet overheated and sparked a fire. According to news reports, investigators are troubled by where a fire broke out in the cockpit zone on board Flight 804 and the spot where the co-pilot had placed his phone and tablet on the glare-shield above the instrument panel. France is conducting judicial and civil inquiries into the disaster, which killed all 66 people on the place en route to Cairo on an overnight flight from Paris.
The plane’s black boxes suggest that it broke up in mid-air after a fire in the cockpit or its vicinity. The Egyptians suspected terrorism after reporting that explosives had been found on the remains of passengers. However, French investigators have information pointing to an accidental fire in the area of the flight deck and the bathroom next door. But investigators are still questioning whether the lithium battery powered cell phone and tablet may be culprits here.
The stability of lithium batteries particularly on board airplanes has been the subject of controversy. Some models that have been known to overheat and ignite are banned on aircraft. There have been reports of fires that have broken out on U.S. flights and international flights as a result of lithium batteries. The pilots were using Apple iPhone and iPad devices at the time. Apple has said they don’t believe their products are involved in this tragic crash. The investigation is ongoing.
The Danger of Lithium Batteries
Scientists say that it is the structure of lithium-ion batteries that makes them prone to exploding. Lithium batteries usually contain electrode sheets wrapped in a configuration like a jellyroll. This helps fit in as many energy-producing layers as possible. While this helps lengthen the life of the battery, it is problematic because gas buildup occurs inside these batteries if they become overheated or overcharged. Lithium batteries are also in danger of exploding or catching fire because many of these products are made in China with very little oversight using substandard parts.
Your Right to Compensation
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective lithium-ion battery, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your losses by filing a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer and other potential parties. Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Injured victims would be well advised to retain the services of a product defect law firm that has successfully handled similar cases in the past.