Airline passenger’s headphones catch fire midflight

Airline passenger's headphones catch fire midflight
A passenger's face was left blackened and her hand blistered after her battery-powered headphones caught fire while she was traveling on an international flight between Beijing and Melbourne.

The women told the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), that she was sleeping and listening to music about two hours into the flight when she heard an explosion.

“As I went to turn around I felt burning on my face,” she told the ATSB, which issued a statement Wednesday as a warning to other passengers, according to CNN.

“I just grabbed my face which caused the headphones to go around my neck,” she said.

The woman, who was not identified, said she tore off the headphones and threw them to the floor, where she saw they were shooting off sparks and small flames.

“As I went to stamp my foot on them the flight attendants were already there with a bucket of water to pour on them. They put them into the bucket at the rear of the plane,” she said.

They couldn’t remove all of the headphones however — both the battery and cover had melted into the aircraft floor.

“People were coughing and choking the entire way home,” the passenger told the ATSB, adding the cabin reeked of melted plastic and burnt hair.

In a statement, the ATSB said it was likely the batteries inside the headphones had caught fire, rather than the headphones themselves.

However, a spokesman wouldn’t reveal what type of batteries or headphones were involved. He said the incident had occurred on February 19.

Only a day before the incident, an Airbus A320 that took off from China reportedly had to make an emergency landing in Nagoya, Japan, after a portable power pack started a fire inside an overhead locker.

Lithium batteries have been known to cause fires on board planes.

Last year, US authorities banned Samsung Galaxy Note 7 from all US flights after its lithium battery was found to spontaneously ignite. The ban extended to shipping the phones as air cargo.

Samsung blamed faulty lithium-ion batteries, which it was said were overheating and causing the device to catch fire. Attempts to fix the problem failed and it later permanently halted production.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority has seen a sharp rise in incidents around electronic devices in recent years, from only three in 2011 to 106 in 2015, according to Flight Safety Australia.

As we reported earlier, another smartphone’s battery has exploded — this time belonging to a Samsung Note 4, that blew up in the middle of the night in Guizhou, southwest China, injuring 5-year-old girl asleep next to it.

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