Flight evacuated after 'replacement' phone catches fire

A Galaxy Note 7 is demonstrated in New York. An overheated Samsung device created smoke that caused a plane to be evacuated. Photo / AP
A Galaxy Note 7 is demonstrated in New York. An overheated Samsung device created smoke that caused a plane to be evacuated. Photo / AP

A flight from Kentucky was evacuated today after a passenger's Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone began smoking shortly before takeoff.

The incident is the latest report of the company's new flagship phone dangerously overheating, an issue that has affected several handsets, forcing Samsung into a major recall of the device and causing chaos at the world's biggest smartphone maker.

A Southwest Airlines flight from Louisville International Airport in Kentucky scheduled to fly to Baltimore was evacuated, after smoke was reported in the cabin at 9.20am local time as it was preparing to take off.

The news is especially damaging for Samsung because the device in question was reportedly a "safe" replacement version of the phone, which was not believed to be vulnerable to the overheating issue.

Brian Green, the phone's owner, told technology website The Verge that he had only bought the device on September 21, when Samsung began selling new versions of the device that it said did not have the same battery problems.

Green said he had powered down the phone at the crew's request, but that it began smoking in his pocket. He dropped the phone on the floor and the flight was swiftly evacuated. He said the device had burned a hole in the plane's carpet and scorched the floor underneath. Samsung said there was no evidence that the phone in question was the new Note 7.

The company was forced to recall millions of the Note 7 phones a month ago, just weeks after it was released, after several reports of them spontaneously catching fire and exploding due to battery faults.

It recently began selling the new versions of the phones in the US and elsewhere, but has already been hit by other reports that they are also overheating.

"There is no evidence that this incident is related to the new Note 7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause," Samsung said.

The US Federal Aviation Administration recently warned passengers not to turn on or charge their Note 7 phones when flying.


- Daily Telegraph UK

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