Wednesday, 21 April 2021 08:27

Smoke on the water, a fire in the sky: iPhone XR catches fire on plane Featured

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Smoke on the water, a fire in the sky: iPhone XR catches fire on plane Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

An Apple iPhone XR caught fire during a flight in October last year after it was shoved down the side of a passenger seat, according to a report from Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch made public on Tuesday.

The aircraft, a Boeing 787-9, had 53 passengers and 10 crew on-board, the report said, adding that there had been no damage to the plane itself.

In summing up the incident, the AAIB said: "A passenger’s mobile phone became trapped in the seat mechanism and was crushed when the seat was adjusted. This damaged the battery, generating flames, smoke and fumes. The cabin crew were able to extinguish the fire using their existing procedures."

It said the aircraft was coming to the top of its descent, when cabin crew noticed smoke coming from a passenger seat.

The plane was flying from Miami to London and about 40 minutes landing an announcement by the crew woke one of the passengers.

iphone xr fire

The iPhone XR that combusted on a plane last October. Courtesy AAIB

"The passenger moved her seat from the flat-bed position to a more upright position then left her seat to use the washroom," the report said. "One of the cabin crew asked the passenger if she could stow the bedding whilst the passenger was away from her seat.

"As she removed the bedding, she smelt a strong odour and noticed a charging cable which was plugged into the seat socket with the other end down the side of the seat. The smell which she described as 'sulphur', was getting stronger so she attracted the attention of the senior cabin crew member.

"At this point they heard a 'hissing' sound and a large plume of grey smoke emitted from the seat in a 'tornado' motion. They remembered seeing an orange glow in the seat area amongst the smoke."

The report went into what could be classified as excruciating detail about the incident and is here for those who like to mull over these things.

There have been numerous incidents of mobile devices combusting, with the most well-known being the case of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 in 2016. The issue left its parent company, Samsung Electronics, with plenty of egg on its face.

Thanks to the Register for a link to the report.


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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