Plane evacuated in US after mobile phone smokes, makes popping noises

A Samsung Note 7 mobile phone overheated and began popping and smoking Wednesday aboard a Southwest Airlines jet just before takeoff, leading to an evacuation, news reports said.

About 75 people who had boarded the plane in Louisville, Kentucky, were evacuated, an airport spokeswoman quoted by USA Today said.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 smartphones were recalled last month worldwide due to the risk of them catching fire. They went back on sale in South Korea on Saturday fitted with new batteries and are scheduled to go on sale in Europe on October 28.

Samsung admitted last month the phone, originally launched on August 19 and sold in several countries, could burst into flames while charging. Several airlines subsequently banned passengers from bringing them on board.

In Wednesday's incident the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 occurred after the phone had been turned off, according to news reports.

The phone overheated while the flight crew was giving their safety demonstration, a spokesman for Louisville fire department said.

A woman who said it was her husband's phone gave an account to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

"He said he had just powered it down, when it made a popping noise and started smoking," Sarah Green told the newspaper. "He took it out of his pocket and threw it on the ground."

Green said her husband's phone was a replacement Galaxy Note 7 after issued after the recall.

Samsung said in a statement emailed to dpa that until it could retrieve the phone, it could not confirm that the incident involved the new Note 7.

"We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause," the statement said. "Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share."

Last update: Thu, 06/10/2016 - 01:04
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