Headphones explosion

A woman traveling on a flight from Beijing, China to Melbourne, Australia suffered burns on her face and hands after her battery-powered headphones exploded.

The injuries wouldn’t have been so extensive if the explosion didn’t occur while the woman was asleep. Nonetheless, she was prompt to react by pulling the headphones out of her ears and throwing them on the floor.

“As I went to turn around I felt burning on my face,” the woman said. “I just grabbed my face which caused the headphones to go around my neck.

“I continued to feel burning so I grabbed them off and threw them on the floor. They were sparking and had small amounts of fire.

“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.”

Victim didn't suffer extensive injuries, flight reached destination

According to the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB), nobody else was injured in the explosion, and the flight reached its destination, albeit passengers had to endure the smell of melted plastic, burnt electronics and burnt hair for the rest of their trip.

The ATSB says that both the battery and the cover melted and stuck to the aircraft’s floor. The headphones used classic Li-Ion batteries.

The incident comes after several air transportation safety boards and airline companies across the world warned passengers not to turn on Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones during flights.

During 2016, several Samsung Galaxy Note 7 handsets exploded and caught fire. Samsung was eventually pushed to call back all Galaxy Note 7 devices in one of all-time's embarrassing recalls.

Recent iPhone models suffered similar battery explosion issues, but Apple denied it was something that affected all iPhone models, saying they were only isolated cases.

Below is the ATSB’s official advice for handling battery-powered devices on flights. Air travelers should exercise caution when working with battery-powered devices during confined spaces like aircraft.

  • Batteries should be kept in an approved stowage, unless in use
  • Spare batteries must be in your carry-on baggage NOT checked baggage
  • If a passenger’s smart phone or other device has fallen into the seat gap, locate their device before moving powered seats
  • If a passenger cannot locate their device, they should refrain from moving their seat and immediately contact a cabin crew member.

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