US grounds Dreamliner fleet for safety checks

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The United States has grounded its fleet of Boeing Dreamliners, as have aviation regulators in Europe, India and Japan, after an apparent battery problem forced one of All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) jets to make an emergency landing on Wednesday. The plane landed safely in Takamatsu, and all 137 passengers and crew were evacuated using the emergency slides, according to the airline. Several people were slightly injured during the evacuations. “During the flight, [the pilots] had an error message saying ‘battery problem’,” said an ANA spokesman. “We are still investigating what exactly happened.” Local media said the pilots noticed smoke in the cockpit, but ANA would not comment on those reports. A passenger told Japan’s NHK broadcaster that he “smelled something strange” as the plane was taking off. But ANA and its rival Japan Airlines, both of them among Boeing’s biggest customers for the jet, said they would ground their fleets pending safety checks. ANA has 17 Dreamliners in service, and Japan Airlines has seven. Later on Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all US-registered Dreamliners to conduct a safety review.