AP: fcaecf4b-ccc3-4225-b3eb-f4539ff19e19
Investigators say the lithium-ion batteries are on responsible for the small fire aboard a Ethiopian Airlines 787 at London's Heathrow Airport. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

Batteries ruled out, but still no cause for Boeing 787 fire at London's Heathrow Airport

It looks like the lithium-ion batteries on board the Ethiopian Airlines 787 are not to blame for the fire that damaged the plane as it sat at the terminal of London's Heathrow Airport.

Investigators said it will likely take a few more days to find, but they pushed blame away from the batteries.

The Boeing 787 had been sitting idle for eight hours before smoke was detected. The best-case scenario for Boeing and the 787 program is that a Ethiopian Airlines employee left the galley stove on or a maintenance crew caused the fire.

"More serious, it could be a manufacturing or installation defect or something like that," said aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia. "More serious would be another design problem, perhaps related to the power system."

Another design flaw would be a major problem for Boeing and the future of the plane. Aboulafia said that will have to wait for the investigation to find a cause.

"There are still a number of other unpleasant scenarios to deal with, and of course, the broader image problem," he said. "This doesn't do the 787's image in the public eye any favors at all."

No airlines have pulled the 787 from service as a result of the fire in London.


Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio Reporter
Chris loves the rush of covering breaking news and works hard to try to make sense of it all while telling stories about real people in extraordinary circumstances.
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