An Alaska Airlines flight was evacuated on Monday night after a smartphone on the plane caught fire, reports The Seattle Times (via The Verge). A spokesperson for the Port of Seattle said that the device that was burned was a Samsung Galaxy A21.
In an email to The Seattle Times, the Port of Seattle spokesperson said that the phone was “burned beyond recognition,” but the passenger who owned the device provided details on the model. “We could not confirm it by looking at the remains of the device,” said the spokesperson.
The flight crew extinguished the fire with a battery containment bag, but smoke forced the deployment of the evacuation slides. The smartphone did not catch fire until the flight had landed at the Seattle-Tacoma airport. 128 passengers and six crew members were transported by bus to the terminal, and there were no serious injuries.
On Twitter, a passenger who was on the flight said that the burning smartphone was “like a smoke machine.”
Just talked with a passenger on Alaska Airlines flight 751, where a fire broke out in the plane after landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. A passenger’s cell phone caught on fire, an Alaska Airlines official tells @KIRO7Seattle . We’re live at SeaTac at 11. pic.twitter.com/qeNHq4g17Z
— Kevin Ko (@NewsWithKevin) August 24, 2021
There are often isolated incidents of cellular phones catching fire after issues with the battery, but in this cause, the problem could be notable as back in 2016, Samsung was forced to recall its Galaxy Note 7 due to exploding batteries.
At that time, there were multiple reports of Note 7 devices exploding or catching fire while charging, and the device was ultimately banned from all airplanes and flights in the United States.
There has been no evidence that the Galaxy A21 is facing a similar widespread issue at this time.