The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been officially recalled, due to potential of the battery overheating and exploding. As of mid-September, there has been almost 100 reported cases of exploding phones. In early September, foreign airlines began banning the use of the phone in-flight. Later, FAA issued a statement, and US airlines began urging customers to stop using or charging the phone in-flight.
Earlier today, a Southwest flight was evacuated due to a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 overhearing. 10 minutes before scheduled departure, while the flight was still boarding, flight attendants discovered smoke in the cabin. All 75 passengers and crew onboard evacuated, and no one was injured.
The Southwest flight, WN 994, was scheduled to depart at 9:30 am from Louisville to Baltimore. Southwest subsequently cancelled the flight, and offered alternative accommodations.
Southwest released a statement regarding the incident:
Before Southwest Airlines Flight 994 departed from Louisville for Baltimore, a customer’s electronic device, believed to be a Samsung, began emitting smoke. All customers and crew deplaned safely via the main cabin door. Customers will be accommodated on other Southwest flights to their final destinations. Safety is always our top priority at Southwest and we encourage our customers to comply with the FAA Pack Safe guidelines.
Lithium batteries are increasingly used in electronics, but they can be susceptible to overheating or even explosion if there are manufacturing defects. Earlier this month, a spare cell phone battery caught fire on a Delta flight. For safety reasons, the FAA does not allow lithium ion or lithium metal batteries in checked baggages.
What’s alarming about this incident, is that the passenger was using a replacement Galaxy Note 7. The Verge spoke with Brian Green, the owner of the phone, who confirmed that the phone was a replacement. Green said that he powered down the phone as instructed by flight attendants, but that “thick grey-green angry smoke” emerged from the device. The phone in question is now being investigated by the Louisville Fire Department’s arson unit.