Part 2: Reading comprehension

Part 2: Reading comprehension

Read the following article about the potential danger of Lithium ion batteries on aircraft and then answer the questions which follow.

Lithium Ion Battery Fires

Passengers on a SEPA Air 737 at Barcelona were ordered to evacuate after a mobile phone caught fire. The passenger’s device was being charged by a battery pack while the aircraft was on the ground preparing to depart for the short flight to Ibiza. Footage filmed by a passenger shows that it initially burned a hole in an aircraft seat before being knocked to the floor in flames.

With smoke pouring from the fire, cabin crew organised an emergency evacuation using the inflatable slides. Footage shows some disorder, with passengers being sent down the chutes even though others had not cleared the slides.

In a statement, SEPA Air said all passengers were safely evacuated back to the terminal and cabin crew dealt with the mobile phone and that the company had worked to arrange a spare aircraft to re-accommodate these passengers with the minimum delay.

SEPA Air allows passengers to carry two spare lithium ion batteries in carry-on baggage. These must be individually protected to prevent short circuits. Battery terminals must be either recessed or packaged so as to prevent contact with metal objects including terminals of other batteries.

Aviation safety experts have long warned about the risks associated with portable electronic devices – and allowing battery chargers on flights.

In February, a flight from Orlando to Phoenix was diverted to Tampa due to a similar fire. During the climb, a passenger’s battery that was connected to a smartphone ignited, burning the owner who knocked it to the floor.

In December, a passenger’s iPhone on a flight from Barcelona to New York caught fire after it was inadvertently crushed when the seat was reclined. Passengers are now warned not to operate reclines and alert cabin crew if they lose an electronic device in the seat mechanism.

According to the latest Federal Aviation Administration figures, air/airport incidents involving lithium batteries carried as cargo or baggage happen, on average, once every 50 days.

Comprehension

  1. Correct the following statements made about the incident in Barcelona:
    • The aircraft involved was an Airbus 320.
    • The incident was caused by a wiring fault in the galley.
    • A hole was burnt in the carpet.
    • There was no need to deploy emergency slides.
    • The evacuation took place quickly and efficiently.
    • Three people suffered cuts and bruises as a result of the evacuation.
    • The airports emergency services dealt with the fire.
    • Passengers experienced long delays as a result of the fire.
  2. What is SEPA’s policy regarding lithium ion batteries?
  3. Information from paragraphs 6 and 7 (highlighted) has been mixed together, below. Unscramble these two paragraphs.
    • In February, a flight from Orlando to New York was diverted to Barcelona due to a similar fire, when a passenger’s battery that was connected to a smartphone ignited. Passengers are now warned not to operate reclines and alert cabin crew if they lose an electronic device in the seat mechanism.
    • In December, a passenger’s iPhone caught fire on a flight from Phoenix to Tampa after it was inadvertently crushed when the seat was reclined, during the climb burning the owner who knocked it to the floor.
  4. What do FAA statistics reveal about incidents involving lithium batteries?

Vocabulary building

In your own words, explain the following terms highlighted in the text:

  • cabin crew
  • inflatable slides
  • the terminal
  • carry-on baggage
  • Battery terminals
  • battery chargers