NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There were some terrifying moments for 158 passengers on a JetBlue flight from John F. Kennedy Airport to California after the lithium battery in a passenger’s laptop somehow caught fire, forcing an emergency landing halfway through the trip.
JetBlue flight 915, which left JFK around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday heading for San Francisco, landed in Grand Rapids, Michigan after the laptop stowed away in backpack in an overhead bin caught on fire.
Fliers first realized something was wrong when they noticed smoke coming from row 25.
“I was stunned,” said passenger Kat Honniball. “I knew something was going to happen because you know, lithium batteries catching on fire when you’re up at 38,000 feet, you can’t help but think you gotta do something, so I was prepared for it.”
“I didn’t know if it was a device on fire or the plane on fire because they didn’t tell us anything,” passenger Alan Honniball said. “We didn’t know what was going on.”
In a statement to CBS San Francisco, the Federal Aviation Administration said the flight was diverted “due to a lithium battery fire from a passenger’s laptop.”
JetBlue also released a statement, saying the flight was diverted “following reports of smoke emitting from a carry-on bag holding an electronic device.”
The flight crew put out the fire and emergency crews removed the damaged equipment after landing. No injuries were reported and airline officials say there was no terror threat on the domestic flight.
In March, the Department of Homeland Security banned large electronics on U.S. bound flights from eight Middle Eastern and North African countries — a total of 10 different airports.
They have been considering broadening the restrictions on all international flights into and out the United States.
“There’s a real threat,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said. “Numerous threats against aviation.”
The passengers on board the JetBlue flight left Michigan and later safely landed in San Francisco.