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2 passengers taken to hospital after fire forces United flight to return to San Diego

A small fire on a United Airlines flight bound for Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey forced the plane to return to San Diego International Airport shortly after takeoff. 

The Boeing 737 returned to the California airport around 7:30 a.m. Pacific time after the flight's crew "reported a laptop on fire in the cabin," according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The San Diego Fire Department told CBS News in a statement that the cause of the fire was an "external battery pack." 

It's not clear why the battery pack caught fire.

Flight crew put the burning object in a fire bag to prevent the fire from spreading, the department said. The fire did not spread to the plane. 

Four passengers who were on the plane were taken to the UC San Diego Medical Center, the fire department said on Twitter. It's not clear why. 

Two other passengers declined transportation to the hospital, and all other passengers and crew members aboard the plane were evaluated, the fire department said. 

  • San Diego
  • Fire
  • United Airlines
  • Newark
  • Newark Liberty International Airport

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