A Southwest Airlines flight was evacuated on the runway in Louisville, Ky., Wednesday morning after a passenger’s replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone burst into flames and reportedly burned a hole in the floor of the aircraft.
Southwest flight 994 passenger Brian Green had just powered down his Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone as the Baltimore-bound plane was preparing for takeoff when it burst into flames. A nearby passenger said Mr. Green immediately dropped the flaming device on the floor.
Passengers remained calm as airline attendants consulted with pilots in the cockpit. Within seconds, the captain came out and told the passengers that the aircraft had to be evacuated. Meanwhile, the cabin of the airplane became filled with smoke.
Southwest had to cancel the flight after assessing the damage, but passengers were allowed back on the airplane to recover their belongings. The airline made alternate arrangements for the passengers to get to their destinations.
According to the New York Times, Mr. Green knew that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphone batteries had the potential to combust and were being recalled. He returned his phone and received a replacement Galaxy Note 7 on September 21.
Another passenger who witnessed the event told the New York Times, “This could have happened moments after we took off or in the air. It could have been catastrophic.”
Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a warning urging air travelers to avoid using or charging Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones aboard aircraft. The agency also urged airline passengers not to pack the phones inside checked luggage.
Samsung, however, recalled some 2.5 million of the smartphones globally. In the U.S., customers returning their phones were given the option to get a replacement phone or a refund. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved the replacement Note 7 phones, so there was little reason to believe the new phones were unsafe.
Earlier this year, Qantas banned Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from its flights after a series of incidents in which the devices caught fire after being damaged when they inadvertently dropped into the electronically controlled business seats. Air France also reported experiencing several in-flight fires that were triggered the same way.
Source: New York Times