Mid-flight headphones explosion leaves passenger with burns and blisters

Sriparna Ghosh
Headphone explosion burns

In a freak incident, a woman suffered burns when her headphones exploded on board a flight from Beijing to Melbourne. After the incident, Australian authorities have issued a warning about the danger of using battery-powered devices.

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The incident occurred when the passenger was listening to music on her own battery-operated headphones while enjoying a small siesta during her flight on February 19. The explosion left her with a blackened face and blisters on her hands.

According to Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the passenger who has not been named said: "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."

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"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 passenger added.

While both the battery and cover melted and stuck to the floor of the aircraft, there was persistent smell of melted plastic and burnt hair throughout the flight.

Here is the list of reminders by the ATSB for passengers using battery-powered devices:

  • Batteries should be kept in an approved stowage, 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.

Last year, many airlines had enforced strict rules which barred the carrying of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones as its malfunctioning batteries caused overheating and fires.

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