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Incidents

ATSB Issues Warning After Passenger’s Headphones Explode Mid-Flight

ATSB Issues Warning After Passenger’s Headphones Explode Mid-Flight
Jackie Reddy

The woman was dozing when her battery-operated device caught fire. Thanks to swift assistance from crew, she was left with only minor injuries.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has issued a cautionary statement after a passenger’s battery-operated headphones exploded on a recent flight from Beijing to Melbourne.

The incident occurred approximately two hours into the flight as the woman was dozing while wearing her headphones. Suddenly hearing a loud explosion, the unnamed female passenger said that she then “felt burning” on her 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,” she said.

The plane’s crew, the passenger said, acted quickly to come to her aid. “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 added.

The ATSB has said that the device’s batteries were likely the cause of the explosion, which left the passenger with blisters to her hands and a smoke-blackened face. The make of these particular headphones has not been released.

On the back of this incident, the bureau has issued a reminder to travelers using battery-operated devices in-flight. These guidelines call for batteries to “be kept in an approved stowage, unless in use” and remind passengers to keep spare batteries in their carry-on luggage.

The ATSB has also issued advice to those who lose their battery-operated gadget in-flight. It reminds travelers that, “if a passenger’s smartphone or other device has fallen into the seat gap, [they must] locate their device before moving powered seats” and that, “if a passenger cannot locate their device, they should refrain from moving their seat and immediately contact a cabin crew member.”

[Photo: Australian Transport Safety Bureau]

View Comments (3)

3 Comments

  1. edgewood49

    March 15, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    But what was the make of the headphones?

  2. dvs7310

    March 15, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Knockoff Chinese I’d guess. Maybe “Bouse”

  3. Jigen666

    March 15, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    Chances are she bought knock-off headphones in China. Otherwise we’d be hearing about the dangers of “Beats” exploding on airlines.

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