Samsung Galaxy Note 7 explodes during Southwest flight boarding

A Samsung Galaxy Note 7, the kind of cellphone that has been recalled for overheating batteries, exploded Wednesday morning aboard a Southwest Airlines flight on the ground at Louisville.

The incident happened about 9:15 a.m. as Flight 994 was boarding, according to WHAS-TV, Louisville. Arson investigators confirmed that a Samsung phone overheated, leading to smoke in the cabin, according to WHAS reporter Rachel Platt.

Nobody was injured, but the incident caused enough smoke to force evacuation of the plane. The flight to Baltimore was canceled, according to FlightAware.com, which tracks flights online.

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 emitted from an electronic device. The plane was evacuated and the passengers will be placed on other flights.

"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 didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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.

The Federal Aviation Administration warned travelers a month ago to avoid turning on or charging the phones while flying because of concerns about the devices catching fire. Airline crews read reminders about the warning at airport gates and in routine safety messages.

“In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage,” the FAA said Sept. 8.

Rechargeable lithium batteries are widely used in electronic devices because they are lighter and are smaller than other comparable batteries. But the batteries are also susceptible to overheating when damaged or suffering from manufacturing problems.

A Southwest Airlines plane flies in late evening light

USA TODAY


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