A flight from New Orleans was evacuated after a passenger’s mobile phone caught fire inside the cabin. It was reported that a smartphone belonging to a passenger caught fire in the cabin of an Alaska Airlines Flight 751 which landed in Seattle on Monday evening. The phone is reported to be a Samsung Galaxy A21, details of the model were provided by the passenger who owned it. Luckily the fire caught by the smartphone was contained while the plane was in the air. All 129 passengers and six crew members were safely transported to the terminal, with no serious injuries reported although two people had to receive treatment at the hospital. No impact was done on the airplane.
Perry Cooper, a spokesperson for the Port of Seattle, said “After much digging, I can tell you that the phone was burned beyond recognition,” Cooper said in an email to The Seattle Times. “However, during an interview with one of our Port of Seattle Police officers, the passenger volunteered the phone was a Samsung Galaxy A21. Again, we could not confirm it by looking at the remains of the device.” Alaska Airlines spokesperson said that the plane’s crew used fire extinguishers and a battery containment bag to “stop the phone from smoking.” Passengers were immediately evacuated from the plane via the evacuation slides “due to hazy conditions inside the cabin,” this condition forced the plane to deploy its emergency evacuation slides. Two of the passengers were treated at a local hospital, the spokesperson said. A Twitter user who said they were on the flight described the cabin as “like a smoke machine.” Passengers on the flight expressed their gratitude to Alaska Airlines for disembarking them so quickly.
This incident reminds us of Samsung’s recall of the Galaxy Note 7 saga over fears of exploding batteries worldwide. It’s unclear if there’s any sort of common defect with any model of the A21 just yet. There have been many isolated incidents of phone batteries catching fire across many different brands. As for why those batteries can catch fire, here’s our explainer about why that happens. All devices with lithium-ion batteries pose a risk of fire and explosion. Samsung however did not immediately reply to a request for comments on the incident.