woman has suffered burns after her lithium-ion batteries, battery-powered headphones exploded mid-flight from China to Australia. Australian Transport Safety Bureau ATSB
A woman has suffered burns after her battery-powered headphone exploded mid-flight from China to Australia. Press release issued by Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Beware, if you use battery-powered headphone to listen music because now headphone also started exploding. A passenger on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne, Australia, was listening to music on her own personal headphone when the lithium-ion batteries based headphone exploded, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) says. Australian authorities have warned about the dangers of using battery-powered devices on flights after a woman’s headphones caught fire.

The Australian safety agency released information about the incident on its website, omitting the woman’s name and any details about the kind of headphones she was using. They quoted the woman’s description of what happened, beginning with the loud explosion she heard while she was sleeping:

“As I went to turn around I felt burning on my face. … 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. The passenger was left with a blackened face and blisters on her hands.

“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.”

The ATSB says the battery and cover of the headphones melted to the floor of the aircraft, and the smell of melted plastic and burnt hair filled the aircraft. The press release doesn’t identify the type of battery. But lithium-ion batteries, the kind widely used in rechargeable small electronics, have caused issues on planes before.

The ATSB assessed that the batteries in the device likely caught on fire. Reminds passengers using battery-powered devices that:

• batteries should be kept in an approved storage, 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.

There are several documented incidents of fires erupting on cargo planes carrying large volumes of lithium-ion batteries, causing at least one deadly crash. Last year, the U.N. urged national aviation regulators to ban such batteries from being carried as cargo on passenger planes.

There have been a number of problems with lithium batteries on flights in recent years.  A plane about to take off from Sydney last year had to be stopped when smoke was coming from a piece of hand luggage. It was then found that lithium batteries had caught fire in the luggage.

Galaxy Note 7, a Samsung smartphone whose lithium-ion batteries infamously caused explosions and fires, were banned on most of the flights months ago leading to discontinuation of Note 7 production by Samsung.

 

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