Both Samsung and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission are in the process of investigating the incident, but it doesn’t look good for the beleaguered Galaxy Note 7 — a report from The Verge indicates that a replacement unit of the phone caught fire in an airplane before takeoff yesterday. The Note 7 was recalled after dozens of reports of batteries catching fire or exploding, but this is the first such incident involving a replacement model.
According to The Verge, the replacement model had a black square symbol on the packaging and a green mark on the battery, both of which are supposed to indicate that the phone is safe to use. When checked using Samsung’s recall web page, the phone’s IMEI number also indicated that the phone was cleared. Samsung had been sending out those replacement models to users who sent their original, unsafe Note 7 phones back as part of the recall. Nothing can be said for certain before investigations have concluded, but the worst case scenario would be a second Note 7 recall that could all but end the phone’s brief run on the market.
The Note 7’s owner, Brian Green, reached out to The Verge with the incident yesterday. Green said that he had turned the phone off shortly before takeoff and put it in his pocket. Shortly afterward, the phone started smoking, which prompted Green to take it out of his pocket and throw it on the ground, where it emitted a “thick grey-green angry smoke.” Passengers were evacuated from the airplane as a precaution, and when allowed to retrieve their hand baggage, found that the phone had burned through the carpet. Green supplied The Verge with a photo of the phone, which looks like other Note 7 models that have caught fire recently. The phone was 80 percent charged and had only been used with a wireless charger, according to Green.
Samsung quickly sent out an official response, reading, “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.”