Passengers on a China Southern Airlines flight were forced to disembark the plane after a bag kept in the overhead compartment of the aircraft caught fire on Sunday, 25 February. The reason for the fire was identified as a mobile power bank.

The China Southern Airlines flight was about to depart from Guangzhou towards Shanghai but was delayed by three hours due to the incident.

The airlines, in a statement, told the Chinese microblogging site Weibo that the passengers were boarding flight CZ3539 when they noticed smoke and fire coming out of a passenger's bag in the overhead bin, the Channel News Asia website reported.

Fire and security departments were called to put out the flames, which did not cause any severe damage, the airline said in the post.

According to reports, the passenger who owned the bag was asked to help the police to assist in investigations.

Preliminary findings revealed that the power bank was not in use when it caught fire, the airline added.

Later, a replacement aircraft was sent and the flight eventually took off from the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport for Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport at 2.53pm China time.

The video of the incident was posted on Chinese social media sites and in it, a flight attendant and a passenger can be seen dousing the fire with what appears to be bottles of water and juice.

Lithium-ion batteries, which are used in electronic devices such as hand phones, laptops and power banks, and in personal mobility devices (PMDs) like e-scooters, can pose fire risks.

They have been banned by the International Civil Aviation Organization as cargo on passenger aircraft, but they are, however, allowed in hand luggage within permissible limits.