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Asiana's cargo catches fire at LA airport

Undeclared lithium batteries transported from Seoul to Los Angeles by Asiana Airlines caught fire during the unloading process earlier this month, the local airline said, Friday. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently investigating the incident.

According to Asiana, smoke started emanating from a damaged cargo box from its cargo plane as it was being unloaded at Los Angeles International Airport.


Later, the airline found there were unreported lithium batteries inside the box.

"The owner of the batteries falsely reported the items and the case is under investigation in both Korea and the United States. The investigation is expected to take some time," an Asiana official told The Korea Times.

Lithium batteries are categorized as dangerous materials as they can overheat or catch fire. If an object is regarded as high risk, it is subject to restrictions on aircraft.

The box contained 30 sets of lithium batteries and its owner falsely reported that the batteries were embedded within devices, the airline explained.

In mid-November, the government slapped Korea's top budget carrier Jeju Air with a 9 billion won ($7.9 million) fine for transporting unauthorized lithium battery-powered watches on 20 different occasions.


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