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Britain Calls for Disabling Emergency Beacons on Boeing Dreamliners

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British air safety officials say emergency beacons on Boeing 787 Dreamliners should be disabled after investigators identified them as a possible cause of the fire in a parked jet at London's Heathrow Airport last week.

The investigators said Thursday the fire on the Ethiopian Airlines jet might have originated in the transmitter batteries of the beacons, which are used to alert rescue workers in the event of an accident. The authorities said the fire last Friday might also have been caused by some "external mechanism," such as an electrical short.

The British authorities called on U.S. air safety regulators to order the disabling of the beacons on the American-made aircraft, 68 of which have been delivered to 13 airlines around the world. The beacon manufacturer, Honeywell International, said it would comply if safety officials want the devices disabled.

No one was hurt when the fire broke out on the aircraft, which was empty at the time.

Earlier this year, Boeing was forced to ground its entire fleet of Dreamliner aircraft for four months after fires started in the lithium ion batteries on two of the 787s.

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