A woman suffered minor burns after the battery operated headphones she was wearing exploded on her flight to Melbourne.
According to a statement from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the incident happened about two hours into the February 19 flight from Beijing when the woman awoke after hearing a loud explosion.
“As I went to turn around I felt burning on my face,” she said. “I just grabbed my face which caused the headphones to go around my neck,” the ATSB quoted the unidentified passenger as saying. “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 ATSB said flight attendants used a bucket of water to douse the headphones and placed the bucket at the rear of the plane. The agency noted that the battery and cover had melted as a result of the explosion and stuck to the floor of the aircraft.
“For the remainder of the flight, passengers endured the smell of melted plastic, burnt electronics and burnt hair,” the agency said in the statement.
Photos of the incident show the passenger with singed hair and soot on her face and lips. The woman suffered from blisters on her right hand.
In the statement, the ATSB said it “assessed that the batteries in the device likely caught on fire.” The agency did not release the brand of headphones the passenger was wearing.
Speaking with Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) an ATSB spokesperson said this isn’t a first time batteries had caught on fire on an Australian flight.
“We’ve also had a case of a person using personal air purifier and the batteries in that have caught on fire on a flight,” Stuart Godley told the broadcaster.
Last month’s incident is reminiscent to the rash of exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 mobile phones prompting airlines to ban the device over fears of the lithium ion batteries catching fire late last year.
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