A Southwest Airlines flight was evacuated today after a Samsung phone filled the cabin with smoke.
The phone’s owner, Brian Green, told ABC News that the device was a replacement Note7, which is supposed to be free of a battery defect that has sparked fires and prompted a massive recall.
“994 — we got smoke in the cabin. Can you send the emergency equipment over here?” the flight captain calmly says in a radio transmission to the tower that was obtained by ABC News.
Southwest Airlines Flight 994, scheduled to fly to Baltimore with 81 passengers on board, was preparing to push back from the gate at the Louisville International Airport in Kentucky when the incident unfolded.
A series of tones could be heard on the radio transmission before the control tower responded: “Smoke in the cabin on the ramp, at the gate, terminal ramp. Southwest Nine-Niner-Four. Boeing 737. Smoke in the cockpit.”
All passengers and crew members were able to exit the plane through the main cabin door, Southwest Airlines said in a statement.
Capt. Kevin Fletcher of the Louisville Fire Department’s Arson Unit told ABC News the heat damage to the phone was so severe that the phone model could not be identified. The device is now in the possession of the fire department.
Fletcher noted that Samsung officials would be traveling to Louisville to examine the phone. He could not say when those officials would arrive.
Asked about the incident, Samsung told ABC News: “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.”
Southwest Airlines would only confirm that the affected phone was made by Samsung. The plane has been taken out of service for inspection, the airline said.
And Elliot Kaye, chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, tells ABC News, “We’re moving aggressively to investigate this incident. We already have investigators on the ground in Louisville, we are reaching out to the customer. We are going to be working around the clock to make sure that we can get to the bottom of this, and make sure that consumers know what they can count on or not, with regard to this remedy.
Green said he had replaced his previous Note7 on Sept. 21 through an authorized AT&T retailer.
Green provided ABC News with the phone’s unique identity number as well as a photo of the box. When the number was inputted into a tool on Samsung’s website to check whether the device was defective, this message popped up: “Great News! Your device is NOT in the list of affected devices.”
The AT&T retailer confirmed to ABC News that replacement models were available on Sept. 21.
The Note7 debuted on Aug. 19 to positive reviews. However, within days, social media posts of the device exploding or catching fire began to emerge.
The company attempted to avoid a government recall by establishing a “product exchange” on Sept. 2.
After criticism and more reports of fires, the company sought an official recall with the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Sept. 15.
“Samsung has received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage,” the CPSC said in a statement.
Source: ABC News