Japan 787 probe finds thermal runaway in battery

Updated 06 February 2013
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Japan 787 probe finds thermal runaway in battery

TOKYO: An investigation into a lithium ion battery that overheated on a Boeing 787 flight in Japan last month found evidence of the same type of “thermal runaway” seen in a similar incident in Boston, officials said Tuesday.
The Japan Transportation Safety Board said that CAT scans and other analysis found damage to all eight cells in the battery that overheated on the All Nippon Airways 787 on Jan. 16, which prompted an emergency landing and probes by both US and Japanese aviation safety regulators.
They also found signs of short-circuiting and “thermal runaway,” a chemical reaction in which rising temperature causes progressively hotter temperatures. US investigators found similar evidence in the battery that caught fire last month on a Japan Airlines 787 parked in Boston.
Photos distributed by the Japanese investigators show severe charring of six of the eight cells in the ANA 787’s battery and a frayed and broken earthing wire — meant to minimize the risk of electric shock.
All 50 Boeing 787s in operation are grounded as regulators and Boeing investigate the problem. The Japanese probe is focusing on flight data records and on the charger and other electrical systems connected to the damaged battery.
Lithium ion batteries are more susceptible to catching fire when they overheat or to short-circuit than other types of batteries. Boeing built in safeguards to gain safety certification for use of the relatively light and powerful batteries to power various electrical systems on the 787, the world’s first airliner made mostly from lightweight composite materials.
Investigators earlier said they found no evidence of quality problems with production of the 787’s batteries by Kyoto, Japan-based, GS Yuasa, whose own aerospace ambitions are on the line.
Yuasa said Tuesday that its April-December net profit fell 3.6 percent to 5.5 billion yuan ($59.6 million) from a year earlier, as demand for batteries lagged due to sluggish demand in Japan and overseas.
The company has struggled to turn its lithium ion business to profitability. In April-December its lithium ion business posted a 7.2 billion yen ($78.2 million) loss, it said, compared with an operating loss of 3.26 billion yen in the full-year that ended March 31, 2012.


Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

Updated 22 April 2018
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Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

  • The victim was dining with his family when the suspect came and stabbed him without warning
  • Police say suspect is a felon who had been convicted for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse since the 1990s

LOS ANGELES: A homeless man who randomly stabbed a patron in a crowded Southern California restaurant to death as he was holding his daughter was reported just a few hours earlier for disruptive behavior, but police ultimately determined he was not a threat, authorities said Saturday.
Jamal Jackson, 49, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of 35-year-old Anthony Mele. He was being held in Ventura County jail on a $1.5 million bail. It was unclear if Jackson, who is also a convicted felon, had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
Mele and his wife were eating dinner with their 5-year-old daughter Wednesday at Aloha Steakhouse in the seaside city of Ventura. The girl was sitting on her father’s lap when prosecutors say Jackson walked up and stabbed Mele in the neck.
Prosecutor Richard Simon said customers and a restaurant employee followed Jackson out of the restaurant, even though he still had the knife. They kept track of him until Ventura police arrived and arrested him.
Mele was taken to a hospital and died Thursday after being taken off life support.
“It’s horrible,” Simon said. “You don’t think you’re going to be killed when you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant with your family and you didn’t do anything.”
Simon said the two men had not interacted before the attack.
“He was just sitting there with his daughter in his lap,” Simon said. “You’re not supposed to die that way.”
Mele’s loved ones started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for a funeral and to support his wife and daughter.
Mele’s Facebook page was filled with photos of his daughter and said he was a manager at an AT&T store.
Police confirmed that a bystander reported a man — who turned out to be Jackson — for disruptive behavior several hours before the stabbing.
According to the bystander, a man was yelling on the promenade not far from the beachside restaurant about three hours before the attack.
Patrol officers were out on other calls so command center staff monitored the man via a pier security camera system for more than 20 minutes before deciding he didn’t seem to be a threat, police said.
Police are asking anyone who spoke with Jackson during that time to contact investigators in the city 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.
Jackson also had half a dozen contacts with police in Ventura since the beginning of the year, including an arrest after a physical fight at a park, said Commander Tom Higgins.
He was also stopped on March 31 after a passer-by reported he was brandishing a knife. Police searched his bag and found a knife but there was no victim so no charge was filed, Higgins said.
Jackson has a lengthy rap sheet including charges in San Bernardino County, Higgins said, as well as convictions for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse dating back to the 1990s.
The killing prompted the Ventura City Council to increase police patrols in the area and add staff members to monitor security cameras, among other measures.
“We are extremely disheartened and infuriated by this criminal attack,” Mayor Neal Andrews said in a statement. “We will not tolerate this in our community. Nothing is more important than the safety of our visitors, residents and businesses.”
If convicted, Jackson faces up to 55 years in prison.