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[Update] US Airliner Evacuates Passengers After Galaxy Note 7 Replacement Caught Fire

By October 6, 2016 at 11:04 am
Samsung Note 7 rumored to be returning. (Photo : Samsung Galaxy Note 7. (Photo credit JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty)

Yesterday October 5 passengers aboard a Southwest Airline heading from Louisville, Kentucky to Baltimore, Maryland were overcome with shock when a fellow passenger's Galaxy Note 7 suddenly started emitting smoke.

The phone in question was allegedly part of Samsung's replacement of Galaxy Note 7 devices intended to fix the problems that caused the first batch to explode. The incident calls into question the effectiveness of Samsung's initial recall.

The Southwest incident happened about 9:15 a.m. as Flight 994 to Baltimore was boarding. Arson investigators have confirmed that a Samsung phone overheated, leading to smoke in the cabin, according to WHAS-TV reporter Rachel Platt.

Nobody was reportedly injured, but the incident generated enough smoke to prompt an evacuation of the plane and cancellation of the flight.

Sarah Green of New Albany told The Courier-Journal of Louisville that her husband, Brian, was waiting to take off to Baltimore when his Galaxy Note 7 overheated. He called her from another person's phone a little after 9 a.m. to tell her what happened.

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

An airport spokeswoman, Natalie Ciresi-Chaudoin, said 75 people aboard the Boeing 737 evacuated calmly.

Southwest Airlines said in a statement that a customer reported smoke emitting from an electronic device, but that passengers were able to evacuate calmly through the main cabin door because the plane was still stationed at the gate.

"Safety is always our top priority," the airline said while urging passengers to adhere to Federal Aviation Administration rules, which warn against having the phones turned on while aboard planes.

However, Samsung has told Quartz that "Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share."

The question is: was Samsung's recall of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 Smartphones all for nought? 

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