Batteries a threat to airline safety?

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Some batteries used in cellphones and laptop computers can catch fire or explode and may present a hazard to air travel, officials say.

Concern about a possible terrorist strike caused flight attendants to confiscate 58 batteries from a passenger aboard an American Airlines flight leaving New York, USA Today said Monday.


The lithium-ion batteries are generally safe for consumer use but could be rigged to make a bomb, Indiana University engineer Jian Xie said.

Officials are concerned about lithium-battery safety after a number of incidents, and earlier this year the Transportation Department proposed more stringent rules for their shipment on aircraft, the report said.

"The frequency of incidents, combined with the difficulty in extinguishing lithium-battery fires, warrants taking strong action," said Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., chairman of the House aviation subcommittee.

There are now no limits to the number of lithium-ion batteries airline passengers can bring aboard, and Transportation Security Administration officials don't perceive a security threat in carry-on quantities, the newspaper said.

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