A Southwest Airlines flight had to be evacuated at the gate at Louisville International Airport when a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, the same type that has been recalled for overheating batteries, started to smoke onboard.
The Southwest incident happened about 9:15 a.m. as Flight 994 to Baltimore was boarding. Arson investigators confirmed that a Samsung phone overheated, leading to smoke in the cabin, according to WHAS-TV reporter Rachel Platt.
Nobody was injured, but the incident caused enough smoke to force evacuation of the plane and the flight was canceled.
Sarah Green of New Albany told The Courier-Journal of Louisville that her husband, Brian, was waiting to take off to Baltimore when his Galaxy Note 7 overheated. He called her from another person’s phone a little after 9 a.m. to tell her what happened.
“He said he had just powered it down, when it made a popping noise and started smoking,” Sarah Green said. “He took it out of his pocket and threw it on the ground.”
Green said her husband’s phone was a replacement Galaxy Note 7 after Samsung recalled the phone in mid-September because of “serious fire and burn hazards.” They took the phone in about two weeks to a local AT&T Store to have it replaced.
Samsung expressed skepticism the incident involved a new Note 7.
“Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note 7,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
An airport spokeswoman, Natalie Ciresi-Chaudoin, said 75 people aboard the Boeing 737 evacuated without incident
Southwest Airlines said in a statement that a customer reported smoke emitting from an electronic device, but that passengers were able to evacuate calmly through the main cabin door because the plane hadn’t left the gate.
“Safety is always our top priority,” the airline said in urging passengers to follow Federal Aviation Administration rules, which warn against having the phones turned on while aboard planes.
Samsung officially recalled 1 million of its Galaxy Note 7 phones sold before Sept. 15 because of “serious fire and burn hazards.”
By mid-September, Samsung had received 92 reports of batteries in the popular smartphone overheating in the U.S., resulting in 26 instances of burns and 55 of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Source: USA Today