iPhone Catches Fire On Airplane

Dennis Faas's picture

A flight attendant on an Australian commercial airplane saved the day after a passenger's iPhone spontaneously burst into flame. No one was harmed.

As dramatic as some accounts try to portray it, the event may have been a relatively tame one.

Reports: iPhone Exploded in Mid-Flight

Several major news outlets claimed that the phone exploded, and that it did so in mid-flight.

The fact is that the airline's official statement says the incident took place after the flight had landed. It also did not mention an explosion. Rather, the airline says the phone "started emitting a significant amount of dense smoke, accompanied by a red glow." (Source: regionalexpress.com.au)

Experts say it's possible the glow was caused by a component in the phone burning. However, others suggest it may have been a screen malfunction due to overheating.

Some reports have also said the smoking phone caused security concerns on the airplane. However, it's not clear if this is based on eyewitness accounts or simply an assumption about how people might have reacted.

Safety Officials Investigate 'Exploding iPhone'

A flight attendant was able to carry out "recovery actions", which is airline-speak for spraying a fire extinguisher.

A photograph released by Regional Express, the airline operating the flight, shows what looks to be an iPhone 4 (the model before the most recently-released iPhone 4S).

While much of it remains intact, the back casing is cracked, with a small section missing, exposing what appears to be a scorched battery casing.

The incident has been reported to Australian air safety agencies and the phone handed over to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau for further analysis.

Other Apple Products Too Hot to Handle

Apple has previously had problems with battery heat.

A few weeks ago, Apple recalled a batch of iPod Nanos, sold between September 2005 and December 2006, after finding that batteries from a particular supplier were overheating in the device. The problem, while minor, seemed to become more serious as the music players aged.

There were also a string of reports in 2009 of exploding iPhones in Europe. Apple investigated the issue and reported that batteries were not to blame. There appeared to be no manufacturing faults. It noted that in every case, the exploding phone's screen had been subjected to severe pressure (such as from being dropped). (Source: tipb.com)

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