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Parked plane fire likely caused by human error

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Ethiopian Air 787LONDON — New reports show a human error involving the incorrect installation of a lithium ion battery likely caused the July 12 fire aboard a 787 Dreamliner, the Seattle Times reported.

It was initially believed that the ion battery was the source of the fire, but it was unknown why the fire was sparked. If the new report is confirmed, it would absolve Boeing and battery manufacturer Honeywell of blame with improper manufacturing.

Photos of the burned lithium ion battery allegedly show internal wires connecting the battery to be crossed and trapped under casing, the Times reported. It appears the wires were trapped during installation when the battery’s cover was put back on. Pinching the wires most likely caused the short-circuit fire that was fueled by the lithium ion batteries.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to institute a mandatory Airworthiness Directive telling operators of the Dreamliner to inspect for proper wire routing and pinching. Other airplanes that use the Honeywell batter will also be inspected.

The fire July 12 on the parked Ethiopian Airlines 787 burned a large part of the plane’s fuselage and tail fin. No one was on board at the time of the fire.

A separate battery problem grounded more than 50 Dreamliners earlier this year.

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