Cargo pallet catches fire at HKG, cause uncertain

On Jan. 8, a cargo pallet caught fire at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). Cause of the fire remains uncertain, but airport authorities have arrested a man connected to the incident for further questioning.

The cargo pallet caught fire outside HKG’s midfield terminal while awaiting loading onto a Hong Kong Airlines plane set for Taipei (TPE). The airport fire service department extinguished the fire within half an hour, according to South China Morning Post.

Authorities are still trying to determine what was in the box that caught fire. The Post reported that crates on the pallet were marked with the logo of Supermicro, a Taiwanese-American company that makes computer processing units, which led to speculation that a lithium battery could have caused the fire. There is no clear information regarding whether lithium batteries, highly debated in the air cargo community, were even on the pallet. Hong Kong Airlines, an IATA member, and SATS HK Limited, a joint venture of Hong Kong Airlines and ground handler SATS Ltd., have not yet provided comment as to the content of the shipment or whether the companies will take measures following the incident to improve security.

Following preliminary inquiries, HKG police also arrested a 21-year-old for further questioning on suspicion of arson. The Hong Kong Airport Authority has also been contacted for comment, but has not yet responded with details on the case and its resolution.