Japan sending investigators to 787 plant in Seattle as part of battery probe

  • Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013 2:24 p.m.
This Jan. 17 photo provided by the Japan Transport Safety Board shows the distorted main lithium-ion battery, left, and an undamaged auxiliary battery of the All Nippon Airways' Boeing 787 which made an emergency landing on Jan. 16 at Takamatsu airport in western Japan. (AP Photo/Japan Transport Safety Board/File)

Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau is sending investigators looking into problems with Boeing 787 batteries to Seattle, where the aircraft are assembled.

The Transport Ministry said members of the team working on the investigation would leave Tokyo on Sunday for Seattle. It provided no further details.

Boeing’s Seattle plant is in Everett, Wash.

The 787 also is assembled in North Charleston. A representative for the South Carolina plant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing earlier dispatched investigators to join the probe in Japan.

All 50 Boeing 787s in use were grounded after a lithium-ion battery in a 787 flight by All Nippon Airways on Jan. 16 overheated, forcing an emergency landing. Earlier in January, a 787 operated by ANA’s rival Japan Airlines suffered a battery fire while parked at a Boston airport.

Investigators in both countries are trying to determine why the batteries have overheated and how to fix the problem.

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