On Thursday night, a teen’s iPhone 6 burst into flames as she was watching a video on a plane to Hawaii. Fortunately, flight attendants were able to put out the fire before situation became critical.
Anna Crail told reporters in Honolulu that she was heading from Bellingham to Hawaii Mar. 17 during spring break. The girl was watching a film when her handset suddenly caught fire.
She recalls that she was so shocked by the happening that her first thought was that the airplane was going down.
“[…] and I was like, ‘oh my God, there’s a fire on the plane,’”
the girl said.
According to Alaska Air, the Boeing 737 had 163 passengers on board and the blaze started when the craft was just above the Pacific Ocean. The teen added that she saw how 8-inch flames engulfed her iPhone.
When she jumped off her seat the device landed under another passenger’s seat. As the blaze was getting higher, nearby passengers also stood up. Fortunately, the airline company’s crew is highly trained for such emergencies, so the fire was put out before the situation escalated.
John Nance, a Texas-born aviation analyst and former pilot, noted that companies have banned hoverboards from planes over concerns that they may catch fire in midair. But no such strict measures were set in place for cell phones, since there was little concern’ that they may represent a fire hazard, too.
Nance said that the public is less concerned about iPhones catching fire because that doesn’t happen on a daily basis, and so many people now carry an iPhone around. It is not like having a hoverboard on a plane, which is a reason of concern due to the many cases of hoverboards exploding all of the sudden, the expert said.
Nance also recommends smartphone users to keep their handsets on airplane mode while in mid-flight because the devices’ countless attempts to find a network can wear the battery out and even make it explode.
Apple Inc. and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have yet to respond to a request for comment on the incident.
Nevertheless, this is not the first time an iPhone goes ablaze. Over the years there were several cases when the devices caught fire especially in their owners’ pockets. Experts explained that all cases were linked to a malfunctioning battery.
In one 8th grader’s case, her iPhone 5 started emitting smoke after overheating in her back pocket. Experts said that the added pressure to her phone while she was sitting caused the battery to short and overheat.
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