Replacement Galaxy Note 7 phone causes plane evacuation

A Southwest Airlines plane was evacuated before taking off due to a replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone suddenly catching fire, The Verge has discovered. 

The plane was scheduled to fly from Louisville to Baltimore when a passenger, Brian Green, was instructed by flight attendants to put his then smoking handset into his pocketbut he instead, threw the phone on the floor of the plane. 

The device was not switched on at the time and had approximately 80 per cent of battery life, Green said.

The replacement handset began to expel a thick smoke forcing the plane’s crew to evacuate the flight. No passengers were injured due to the incident. 

After the evacuation, a passenger flying with Green re-boarded the plane and noticed the phone had burned the carpet of the plane. 

Samsung told The Verge: “Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note 7. 

“We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.”

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has advised that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 handsets should not be switched on when boarding flights. The FAA also said the phones should not be placed into overhead luggage storage compartments either. 

Green obtained the replacement handset on 21 September following a mass product recall. The phone was packaged in a box that had a black square on it, indicating the device was a replacement one.

This controversy comes weeks after Samsung was forced to issue a recall of its Galaxy Note 7 phones, after it was initially discovered the devices were unstable.

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