Mobile 'fault' forces BA flight into unscheduled Russian landing

Airline denies rumours of catastrophically exploding BlackBerry

British Airways has denied that an exploding BlackBerry was to blame for a flight diversion this afternoon.

AirLive.net tweeted that an errant BlackBerry caused Flight BA18 to make an unscheduled landing in Russia at around 1pm local time.

But according to BA: “This is incorrect. There was no exploding BlackBerry. Our crew took the decision to divert the aircraft as a precaution after a fault with a customer's personal device.”

The flight was en route to Heathrow from Seoul when there were reports of smoke in the cabin. Unconfirmed sources said that a mobile phone had “caught fire” and the pilot decided to divert to Irkutsk International Airport.

Technicians from the airport boarded the craft to determine the source of the smoke. The plane – a Boeing 787-8, registered G-ZBJG and with 205 passengers on board – departed Irkutsk around 4.30pm to continue on to London.

BlackBerry, the company formerly known as RIM, had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publishing. BA said: “The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority.” ®

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